If you ever told someone about West Side Story who didn’t know anything about it, their response is likely to be, ‘That sounds awful!’ It is a concept you really wouldn’t think would work on the screen, except for a niche audience. After all, it is essentially a film that asks you to accept a bunch of street toughs who sort everything out with ballet, and which features plot twists (admittedly borrowed from Romeo & Juliet) that are far-fetched to say the least.
However thanks to an incredible conjunction of talent, it doesn’t just work but is one of the greatest musicals ever created. As you probably know, the film is essentially Romeo & Juliet but transferred to the streets of New York, with the Capulets and Montagues replaced by the white street gang The Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. [Read more…]