West Side Story (Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise) Rating: NNNN
The concrete jungle that is Dundas Square seems a fitting venue for an al fresco screening of West Side Story. Think of that famous prologue featuring rival gangs the Jets and Sharks pounding the gritty New York pavement to Leonard Bernstein's still edgy score.
Testosterone-charged guys roaming the city streets, executing moves that drew as much from ballet and modern dance as they did from Broadway: not something you saw every day.
That near-wordless prologue, along with the opening aerial shot over Manhattan and the rooftop America sequence still hold up today, while many other scenes and some of the dialogue from the best-picture Oscar winner seem dated and cheesy.
Natalie Wood (Maria), then a huge star (she got an Oscar nomination for Splendor In The Grass the same year), and Richard Beymer (Tony) didn't get along, and their scenes together aren't exactly smouldering.
What holds up best today are Jerome Robbins's choreography - look for Eliot Feld, later the head of his own dance company, as Baby John - and Bernstein's music, still the best score for any film musical.
Lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who hadn't yet made his name as a lyricist/composer, always regretted his words for Maria's I Feel Pretty. How could a young Puerto Rican girl sing and rhyme like Cole Porter?
Curious? Walk tall - over to Yonge-Dundas Square, Tuesday (July 19).