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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 4/15/99

West Side Story
1961 (1998) - MGM/UA

review by Todd Doogan, special to The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

West Side Story Film Rating: A

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A/B

Specs and Features

152 mins, NR, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:20:48, at chapter 6), Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailer, 8-page production booklet, film-themed menu screens with animation and music, scene access (36 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1), subtitles: English & French, Close Captioned

For some strange reason, I really love West Side Story. Know that I'm not a lover of musicals - I run away from them if I can help it. But I have to think that every current day filmmaker, who is toying with the idea of making a musical (Coppola, Scorsese and Spike Lee), want to do so simply because of West Side Story.

For those of you not in the know, West Side Story is basically Romeo and Juliet set in 1950s New York City. A white anglo gang known as the Jets, and a Puerto Rican gang (The Sharks), are in the middle of a street war, when two star-crossed lovers from opposite gangs dare to fall in love. That's always a beautiful tale - but here, it's even more so. The cinematography is... wow! The color and light usage is even more wow! And who will ever forget the songs? I know I won't. The film won the Best Picture Oscar in 1961, and boy does it deserve it.

I like the way the DVD preserves the film. The colors are beautiful, the sound is beautiful. The trailer... not so beautiful. In fact, it looks like someone ran around with it strapped to the bottom of their shoe, during some of the dance sequences - it's that bad. It's an RSDL disc, and the switch is unnoticeable over a black transition - a very good hide. Extras include 16X9 enhancement (bonus!), the 8-page booklet, and nicely animated menu screens with music. All in all, this DVD is a great representation of the musical, and I'm very happy I own it.

Todd Doogan
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