On Monday, April 14th, I drove out to Amherst, MA from where I reside, in a city just outside of Boston, for a sing-a-long viewing of the film West Side Story. Although it took a bit longer to get out to Amherst than I predicted, it was well worth the drive out there, with pretty scenery on the way out there.
Getting there just a little bit before 7:00 p. m., when the movie was due to start, I parked at a meter in the center of town near the common and took the short walk to the Amherst cinema, where the film was to be shown. The cinema was a pleasant place, with several cinemas, and West Side Story was shown in the biggest one of them. The theatre was mostly filled up, so I took a seat in the middle of the theatre, where I had a decent view. The screen was a regular movie theatre screen, which was slightly curved, so that the film didn’t have a totally flat look to it.
There was a short introduction, and a small costume contest, since afew people came to the West Side Story sing-a-long viewing in costumes. Afew women were dressed in fancy-ish dresses for the occasion, one guy was dressed in a leather jacket, playing a Jet, and another guy was dressed casually. The announcer decided that the women in the dresses were the winners of the costume contest, and had afew choices of prizes; a CD of the West Side Story movie sound track, a movie poster for West Side Story, and a DVD version of the movie.
The film West Side Story was as great as ever, and, despite the fact that very few people sang along with the songs, there was much exuberance and spirit in the audience. Everybody was snapping their fingers along with the Jets when the film first opened, right after the aerial shots of NYC’s West Side, and it was really cool. I, too did a little bit of singing along at times, too, and it was enjoyable to do that.
Having recently seen HD digitally-restored, remastered, reprinted and cleaned up versions of the film West Side Story , however, I was aware of how much more three-dimensional the regular film looked, and, despite some of the noticeable flaws in the film, it was well worth coming to view the movie, and my view of the film was not spoiled very much, if at all.
One of the things that I noticed in this particular viewing of the film West Side Story were the individual facial expressions on each of the characters, especially the Jets and Sharks. There seemed to be more sadness, anger, exuberance, and funniness, just generally. When the Jets harassed and almost raped Anita however, I noticed that the Jets seemed to be smirking insolently and kind of snickering aloud at her while in the process, until they were pulled up short by Doc, as he came back into the Candy store.
The expressions on the individual faces of the characters in West Side Story (the film) ranged from exuberance, happiness, cockiness, toughness, anger and being overly optimistic. The anger was especially noticeable when, during the pre-rumble quintet/ensemble, when the Jets and Sharks were getting ready for their show-down, and threatening to get back at each other, the faces of the warring gangs seemed to be growing dark with fury. Anita’s disapproval of Maria and Tony’s meeting at the Bridal Shop where both Maria and Anita worked as seamstresses could be seen on her face; it too, was rather angry and hostile.
After the rumble, especially after the deaths of Riff, Bernardo, and later, Tony, everybody looked kind of spent, sad and worn out, but I do think that after the deaths of Riff, Bernardo and, ultimately Tony, the fact that several Jets and Sharks united to carry Tony’s body off, and after Maria’s message of “You all killed him, and my brother and Riff! Not with bullets and guns. With hate! Well, I can kill too, because I have hate!”
Having said that, I believe that the strong message that Maria gave the Jets and Sharks right when they seemed about to clash (physically) again, was also the catalyst for at least a temporary unity and momentary understanding in tragedy.
Please note: This thread is also posted at imdb.com and pffugeecamp.com