This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

"West Side Story" Critique. Essay

849 words - 3 pages

Synopsis: Maria is a newly-arrived Puerto Rican girl whose brother heads a gang called The Sharks against the Caucasian gang called The Jets. The rivalry between the gangs is in place from the beginning, but it reaches a fever pitch when Maria falls for Tony, the founder of the Jets, at a local dance. West Side Story is the classic tragedy of Romeo & Juliet set in a modern setting. The setting is the Upper West Side of New York City in the late 1950s with conflict between rival street gangs rather than families.In the opening of the film, during which nearly 15 minutes pass before a real line of dialogue is spoken, contains some impressive overhead shots of NYC. It is a breathtaking aerial shot of Manhattan from a bird's eye view capturing the city with many of its recognizable landmarks as it moves steadily to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and then speedily zooms down and plunges into a concrete playground where an elaborate set of dances takes place as The Jets and The Sharks bicker over their territory readying themselves for a gang brawl.The movie is based on the successful Broadway hit - a staged musical play of lovers that crossed racial/ethnic barriers, juvenile delinquency and inner-city problems of the mid-twentieth century - in exhilarating musical and dance form.West Side Story was the first musical I have watched that addresses the realities of life. Usually musicals are cheerful & far from reality & its harshness. But this movie explores both the senselessness of gang strife and the prejudice faced by immigrants in depth. Still, the approach to violence is unique and very appropriate for a musical. West Side Story is bloodless in all scenes including the stabbing and gunshot scenes. All the fights are divorced from reality since the characters dance around each other during stalking and attacking. The choreography and music put a real sense of menace into these scenes. The dances communicate the passionate intensity, frustration and tough violence of the streets. Therefore, we end up feeling the violence more than seeing it.Consciousness of racism was very much on the rise in the U.S. of the late fifties. Bernstein portrays this in a very clear way. The movie emphasizes the racism and discrimination that Puerto Ricans were subjected to in America in the 50s. For example the song "America", my favorite in the whole movie, expresses the ambiguous feelings of the immigrants about their homeland while condemning American white racism. There is so much depth included in this number, both...

Find Another Essay On "West Side Story" Critique.

West Side Story Vs. Ragtime Essay

985 words - 4 pages Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story and Stephen Sondheim's Ragtime have similar and relating themes intertwined throughout each of their storylines. Each play portrays different ethnic groups that have immigrated into America and how these ethnic groups are treated and accepted by the dominate race, the Whites. Both Ragtime and West Side Story depict the initial idealistic view that the immigrants have of America. It is not until the immigrants

West Side Story The Musical Essay

681 words - 3 pages West Side Story The Musical *No Works Cited West Side Story is one of the most influential musicals of all time. It's integration of dance and song into the plot was very innovative, because even though it had been done before, it had never been done this well. Jerome Robbins had thought of an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet to a Broadway musical in 1949. He began discussions with librettist Arthur Laurents and composer Leonard

Analysis of West Side Story

1149 words - 5 pages 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

Romeo And Juliet Vs. West Side Story

876 words - 4 pages Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story, two timeless dramasthat will live forever. Although both of these stories havemany similarities, there are also many differences. Thesedifferences include the differences in sililoquy, the fact thatMaria doesn't die, the fact that we never see Tony or Maria'sparents, as well as the issues of marriage, the importance ofgangs and families to each story. To understand thesedifferences, I have read and/or watched

Romeo And Julite Vs. West Side Story

557 words - 2 pages Switching Roles (R&J v. WSS) Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Ernest Lehman's West Side Story are similar in many ways; however, in those comparisons there are some minor differences. Aside from the similarities between Romeo and Tony or Juliet and Maria, there are many other likenesses such as the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet and the fire escape scene in West Side Story. In Romeo and Juliet the scene starts off with Romeo listening

Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story

1141 words - 5 pages , Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare tells the tale of young love and fatal misfortune. With the same message the musical from the 50’s, West Side Story directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise carries out a similar story of young love and tragedy. Although some are touched by these love stories, others argue it tells a tale of young fools. Although the theme of tragedy is seen in both stories as the time goes on from when they stories

Romeo and Juliet, west side story, compare and contrast

514 words - 2 pages "Romeo and Juliet" and "West Side Story" are two similarly different stories. They are both great stories written by great writers. "Romeo and Juliet" is a sad love story that's a classic known by many. It is the perfect model to be used by other writers. It is one of the best works of William Shakespeare. Although "West Side Story" is not as famous as "Romeo and Juliet", it was a impressive work of it's time, and it has left his mark on the

Comparing Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story

1079 words - 4 pages Comparing Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story In this piece of coursework I will be analysing the technical aspects of the opening scenes in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story. I will be talking about the body language, costumes, colour schemes, the sounds, music and camera angles used in each of the films. Both these films are about two lovers who fall in love despite being in rival gangs or families

Romeo and Juliet / West Side Story - A Comparison / Contrast

995 words - 4 pages      Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story both have a lot in common as well as major differences that set them apart. Although West Side Story is a direct rendition of Shakespeare's original play, many of the themes and symbols are altered to fit the modern perspective. The characters have a direct correlation to each other, yet racial issues give them a new light. Many of the events also reflect each

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet vs. West Side Story

722 words - 3 pages Romeo & Juliet vs. West Side Story Shakespeare's is one of the most read writers ever and his writing was so successful that not just one group of people liked it. He did this by relating to his audience using universal truths. . Human emotions are not something that change over time and they are also known as universal truths; love, hate, revenge, and envy are all examples of universal truths. This play was so successful that many other

Contrast Of Romeo And Juliet and West Side Story

1653 words - 7 pages Works Cited Missing Three Hundred Fifty Years of Blind Love: A Contraposition of Shakespeare and Robbins’ Romeo and Juliet Andy Warhol once said, "They say that time changes things, but actually you have to change them yourself." Two hundred fifty years passed between the original Romeo and Juliet and the premiere of West Side Story on Broadway in 1957. However, time did not change the message of the story, simply the creators’ unique

Similar Essays

West Side Story Essay

542 words - 2 pages West Side Story      In this musical, it uses several types of narratives, for example, after the fight between the Jets and Puerto Ricans, after the police leave, they enter the ally and the girl is begging to join the gang saying how much she wants to fight is a part of narrative sexuality (B 34). The girl is more of a tom boy who wants to be like one of the guys.      Also, in the West Side

West Side Story Essay

1039 words - 4 pages West Side Story 1. Point out how the general setting of the play is established. Give at least two examples. The play West Side Story takes place in a suburb on the West Side of New York City. We can conclude that we are talking about a socially disadvantaged suburb as the surrounding area is described with high brick walls, not very attractive and by the presence of the two gangs – the Jets and the Sharks. We are also able to say

The West Side Story Essay

830 words - 3 pages happiest person there, even before he met Maria. The West Side Story did not demonstrate a good society, either. The people outside the gang did not help to lead these kids in the right direction. The gangs learned to be negative towards one another, because people of higher authority did the same, such as the cops. I was shocked when the cop made racist comments towards the Sharks, I would think that a black man in that time period would

Realities Of West Side Story Essay

1108 words - 4 pages Realities of West Side Story Filmed in 1961, West Side Story is a modern-day telling of Romeo and Juliet. Two youths struggle with their forbidden love as two gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, duel. At the end of the film, Maria says, “You all killed him […] with hate!” This is a universally acknowledged theme that hate can kill. West Side Story is said to be a “morality play about “our” everyday problems: racism, poverty, and the