Saturday, January 30, 2010

1/20th of #38, check.

#38, "See 20 Classic Films" -- One down.

Yes, a small feat, but my first check off of my bucket-list for this year :) Watching West Side Story for the first time was interesting. I didn't know the plot-line, but I read that it was a "modern-day" Romeo and Juliet. I'd also heard that this was the play where "I feel pretty" was sung, lol, so it was cool to finally see the context.

It takes place in the 60s, the west side of New York, where two gangs fight for the street: the Jets (whites), and the Sharks (Puerto Rican).

Some fun facts, courtesy of

~ Director Robert Wise hired New York gang members to control crowds on location, and fought to shoot on location in New York City.

~ Filmed on-location on West 61st Street.

~ The original stage version of Maria's song "I Feel Pretty" included the lyrics "I feel pretty and witty and bright / And I pity / Any girl who isn't me tonight." In the film this night scene was changed to the daytime, and presumably for this reason, the rhyming words "bright" and "tonight" were changed to "gay" and "today."

~ Audrey Hepburn was offered the role of Maria, but she turned it down, because she was pregnant with Sean H. Ferrer at the time.

~ With its win of 10 Academy Awards, this became the biggest Oscar-winning musical of all time, beating the record Gigi (1958) set three years before with its nine Oscars.

~ Since Hollywood was accustomed to dubbing the singing voices of many stars, dozens of non-singing actors and actresses were tested or considered for the leading roles.

~ The second highest grossing film of 1961, coming in just behind One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961).

~ Throughout the movie, Natalie Wood wears a bracelet on her left wrist, not for any aesthetic reason, but because she had injured her wrist on in the scene of The Green Promise (1949) when she fell on the bridge that collapsed during the severe rainstorm, causing an unsightly bone protrusion on her wrist. She wore the bracelet to hide the injury. It became her trademark in all of her movies.

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