December 30th, 2011: West Side Story (1961)

Cast and Crew: Robert Wise (Co-Director, Producer), Arthur Laurents (Book); Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, Simon Oakland, John Astin

What It’s About:   Romeo and Juliet re-imagined as a musical with rival street gangs replacing feuding Italian noble families.

Why Watch it Today?:  Today is Russ Tamblyn’s birthday.  Tamblyn plays Riff, essentially the musical’s Mercutio, and shows off some of the acrobatic dancing which he performed in several musicals before his film career went downhill and he found himself acting in Al Adamson films, later surfacing in oddities like David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. West Side Story is an excellent musical, opening with scenes shot on location in New York, songs by Leonard Bernstein and choreography by Jerome Robbins.

Where to Get It: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu; Netflix (Rental), Libraries

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