Analysis of West Side Story
West Side Story came out in 1961 as a melodramatic musical that took place in New York. It takes the same theme as Shakespeare's, Romeo and Juliet, in that it is about two lovers whose relationship is not accepted by others because of conflicting backgrounds.
The artistic intensions of this film are implicitly stated everywhere throughout the film. All of the dancing, singing, acting and pretend fighting was done thoroughly and very well, although the miking and mixing during the pretend fighting did not seem realistic. Specific actors, dancers, and singers were trained and taught how to perform in order to get the message across to the audience that this West Side Story is not just a film, but a theatrical, musical, choreographed, work of art. Specific messages are portrayed in different art forms such as the way the Puerto Rican women dressed compared to the American women. The Puerto Ricans had fluffier, more brightly colored dresses than did the Americans and the Puerto Rican women made their own clothes. I lived in Mexico last summer and in my opinion, their authentic style of clothing still has those same characteristics. The exception was Maria, who was also not allowed to wear a brightly colored dress with a low cut neck because she was too young, and although she claimed to be an American girl now which would make her eligible for being more free and independent, or shall we say sexy, she still had to wear a conservatively cut white dress. A characterization was pointed out about American women being able do more and be less conservative than Puerto Rican women.
The musical selections and songs that were sung told a story and narrated the almost the entire film, as is expected in this type of film genre, explaining the differences as well as the conflicts between the two cultures. This in itself is a form of art because these songs were written specifically for the purpose of guiding the audience through the scenes and setting the mood to suit the scenery. It was like poetry put to music. The scenery and setting showed that they were on the streets of New York, as well as in and around the school were a lot of the movie took place. There was graffiti on the buildings. This itself could be considered art, but it was also incorporated into the movie by being how the credits were displayed. I would guess, from the movie, that there is a lot of graffiti on the buildings in New York as there is in most big cities. All of the artistic disciplines flowed together in quite an attractive and interesting way, even though sometimes the scene changes were quite different in mood and content. One minuet Maria, with her Puerto Rican accent, and Tony, are singing love songs to one another softly, and the next the camera zooms in on a fence outside the school where a fight is about to occur and the music changes to a more dramatic style. I think these dramatic scene changes added excitement to the film. The...