Saturday, September 26, 2015

50. Leonard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim - West Side Story

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This work is based on the sleeve design of the original soundtrack album from the 1961 film West Side Story. The album sleeve design was in turn based on the movie poster art design created by Saul Bass.

I could say that the movie poster art is one of the most iconic of its kind. It portrays the basic setting of the story - the West Side neighbourhood in Manhattan where two groups of migrant youths
struggle to take control. Tony and Maria are amongst them, they fall in love, and the gangs rumble. The story's ending is a tragedy in the style of Romeo and Juliet, although one of the lovers survive. 

The centrepiece of the icon is the staircase, depicting the living conditions of the neighbourhood in a city that was teeming with migrants, for centuries, and right after the Second World War.
In my favourite scene from the movie, Tony and Maria are locked in an embrace where they promise each other:

"There's a time for us, a time and place for us. . . peace and quiet and open air, wait for us somewhere."

Now, take that staircase away.

Or take Tony away. 

The staircase returns to memory.

No. 210, The Virgin All-Time Album Top 1000.

Cover art design derived from the movie poster art by Saul Bass. Album produced by Didier Deutsch. Columbia Masterworks 1961.

Released on October 18, 1961 through United Artists, the film West Side Story received high praise from critics and the public, 
and became
the second highest grossing film of the year in the United States. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10, including
Best Picture, becoming the record holder for the most wins for a movie musical.

West Side Story holds a 94% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 62 reviews for an average rating of 8.3; the consensus states:
"Buoyed by Robert Wise's dazzling direction, Leonard Bernstein's score, and Stephen Sondheim's lyrics, West Side Story remains perhaps
the most iconic of all the Shakespeare adaptations to visit the big screen."

The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the
National Film Registry in 1997. Its ten Academy Awards make it the musical film with the most Academy wins, including Best Picture.
Three other films (Ben-Hur, Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) won 11 Oscars, but none was a musical.
Full article

(A) Prologue - Jet Song - Something's Coming - Dance at the Gym - Maria - America - Tonight

(B) Gee, Officer Krupke - I Feel Pretty - One Hand, One Heart - Quintet - The Rumble - Cool - A Boy Like That/I Have a Love - Somewhere

"Somewhere", a clip from the movie from movieclips on YouTube.