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
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
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.