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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Collection box set (blu ray)...memorable experience...box set a good value
VIDEO:

According to the studio, West Side Story has undergone hundreds of hours of restoration for this Blu-ray release - a fact that shines through in the Blu-ray's sumptuous 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 2.20:1 encode. This new restoration excels with the film's combination of thick grain, waxy colours and ultra-deep blacks. Most telling of all is the gym dance (Chapter...
Published on Nov. 16 2011 by Dr. Joseph Lee

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less Than Perfect Sound
This magnificent film is truly ageless. I won't bother discussing the plot as so many others have. I simply wish to call your attention to the sound quality of the otherwise perfect
DVD. In a word, the sound "stinks." Far more attention should have been paid to such a crucial element of this film. It's muddy and poorly mixed, especially during the...
Published on May 23 2003


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Collection box set (blu ray)...memorable experience...box set a good value, Nov. 16 2011
By 
Dr. Joseph Lee (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (#1 HALL OF FAME)    (REAL NAME)   
VIDEO:

According to the studio, West Side Story has undergone hundreds of hours of restoration for this Blu-ray release - a fact that shines through in the Blu-ray's sumptuous 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 2.20:1 encode. This new restoration excels with the film's combination of thick grain, waxy colours and ultra-deep blacks. Most telling of all is the gym dance (Chapter 7), a particularly troublesome sequence with heavily-saturated reds, which are rendered perfectly stable in this Blu-ray encode, with even Maria's virginal white dress unaffected by bleed. But there are fade issues with Saul Bass' credit sequence that the studio has prompted to release corrected discs in the future (no specific date yet). No doubt, this version is much better than the previous DVD edition, but somehow lacks the slam-dunk transfer it should be. (4.5/5)

AUDIO:

The audio comes with DTS-HD MA 7.1 lossless mix. Unsurprisingly, it's the musical numbers get the best out of the enhanced frequency range and tonal precision offered by this lossless presentation. And while the track is clearly more expansive that the original sound design, it never feels artificial or forced. Use of the rears is actually pretty subtle and atmospheric rather than overtly aggressive. A fine example is the opening of the song Maria (Chapter 10), where the echoes carry into the rears before the rest of the music opens up across the entire soundfield. You can all sing along with most of the songs, like Maria, Tonight, America, I Feel Pretty and Somewhere. The total score (music, Leonard Bernstein and lyrics, Stephen Sondheim) also sounded perfect.

It should be noted that the original six-track mix of West Side Story was found early last year (it has been lost for decades). Good news, right? Well, not really. Fox didn't think it was worth the investment to utilize this newly-discovered mix, instead sticking with a lossless incarnation of the mix that was used for the film's DVD release. So, does West Side Story sound great here? Of course. Is it a definitive mix for the film? Absolutely not. (4.5/5)

THE MOVIE:

In 1962, West Side Story won 10 Oscars, including Best Picture (Robert Wise), Best Director (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins: this was the first time the Best Director's award was being shared. This would not happen again until 46 years later, when Joel Coen and Ethan Coen shared the award for No Country for Old Men.), Best Supporting Actor (George Chakiris), Best Supporting Actress (Rita Moreno), Best Costume Design (Irene Sharaff, who also won Oscars in The King And I, Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, An American In Paris, and Cleopatra), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Sound and Best Music Score. Of course, the soul of the movie was the very young Natalie Wood. (5/5)

TRIVIA:

The West Side Story Original Soundtrack album is the All-Time Number 1 album as far as longevity at Number 1 position is concerned...a unbelievable 54 weeks at Number 1. The all-time sale champion Thriller by Michael Jackson only racked up 37 weeks at Number 1. Natalie Wood's singing was dubbed by Marni Nixon. Richard Beymer's singing voice was dubbed by Jimmy Bryant.

Opening dance sequences were shot on the upper west side of Manhattan where Lincoln Center stands today. This area was condemned and the buildings were in the process of being demolished to make way for Lincoln Center. The demolition of these buildings was delayed so that the filming of these sequences could be completed.

Did you know that Robert Wise's original choice to play Tony was none other than Elvis Presley himself?

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

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 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.

This 50th anniversary boxed set is about the same size as that of Star Wars The Complete Saga, and The Lord Of The Rings Extended Cut. I display them together with the larger size ones (Wizard Of Oz, Ben Hur, Ten Commandments, Gone With The Wind and The Sound Of Music). Included in this 4 disc set are a hardcover book with rare beautiful photos and forward by producer Walter Mirisch, theatrical posters from around the world in 10 collectible postcards (wow!), exclusive tribute CD with covers from Julie Andrews (I Feel Pretty), Gloria Estefan with Dave Grusin (Tonight), the Original Broadway Cast (Gee, Officer Krupke), Charlotte Church (Somewhere), Mandy Patinkin (Something's Coming), Jonathan Butler & Dave Gruson (Maria), Tuck & Patti (One Hand, One Heart), and Maynard Ferguson (Maria). This box set is a truly collector's item and all the above will be treasured. This box set is highly recommended.

I pre-ordered this box set as soon as it was posted and the price then was $47.99. The price has since gone up to $62.99, now lowered to $49.99. The key here is to pre-order as early as possible. If you want to know other tips that I have learned along the way to get the cheapest price while shopping at Amazon.ca, please read my humble advice posted at the end of the Cars 2 (5-disc combo edition) blu ray review. Happy shopping.

UPDATE:

As I noted in my review that in the opening sequence, the colour faded to black. This was done in error. The correct version should have no black frame at all. Now Fox has agreed to exchange the defective disc for free. Please follow the following instruction if you have the defective disc (both Blu ray and DVD):

Call Fox Customer care: 1-888-223-4369. The email address for foxcustomercare only applies to US residents. The receptionist will take down your name and address, plus email address, plus the UPC code at the back of the box set. (So have the disc or box set ready when you call). I was told that a return label will be included in the email. Then, return the entire box with the return label on the outside. Then simply give it to the local UPS office. Hopefully, a new set with the correct discs will arrive in the mail.

If you are buying this set in the store, read the UPC. The UPC with the corrected disc is as follows:

Single disc: correct UPC - 88390424523082
Box set: correct UPC - 88390424521681

I shall update you if there is further development. Good luck.

MORE UPDATE (March 19, 2012):
For those people awaiting the exchange program in Canada, I was reassured by Fox Customer Service that at this time, arrangement for exchange from Canada is still not ready, and that I would receive their stamp-free label in the email to mail back the defective box (all discs) and Fox will return the corrected box to us. For those of you that has not bought the box at the beginning, check the UPC at the time of purchase. I am sure that the items available now are all corrected version. I hope this update is helpful to you.

MORE UPDATE ABOUT REPLACEMENT PROGRAM: (May 10, 2012)
Fox Customer Service has finalized the replacement program in Canada. Through email, I was notified by Fox Customer Service that a specified courier company would notify me to pick up my defective set. Within a day or two, my defective box set was picked by that courier company. On May 8, 2012, I was notifed via email that a brand new replacement box set has been sent out. I am looking forward to receiving this new box set. I did not have to pay a single cent to have my defective box set replaced. Hopefully, I shall receive this new replacement box set soon. Many many thanks, Fox, for job well done.

Update (May 14, 2012)
Shorting after the above update, the brand new box set was delivered by courier to my home. Again, I did not spend a single cent in this exchange. Fox is indeed very classy. Thanks again, Fox.

The replacement box set was for those who bought it when it was first released. There is no such defect problem in the current box set being sold on Amazon.ca. Good luck!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WEST SIDE STORY THE HIGH WATER MARK IN CINEMA, May 23 2005
By 
A. Munnik "firewatcher" (Brazeau Tower, Alberta) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It's too bad that younger generations of viewers of WEST SIDE STORY, when viewing the scenes of superb ensemble choreography will at once think of certain fashionable brands of chinos. In our society, where nothing is sacred, it's a shame that our most elevated moments of artistic achievement end up being shanghaid for commercial exploitation.
That aside, WEST SIDE STORY has it all. A love story with a timeless and universal appeal. A pulsating energy from beginning to end. A fantastic libretto and Leonard Bernstein's outstanding score, with performances to match. Brilliant cinematography that captures the flavour of NYC circa 1960 with its decaying neighbourhoods and smoldering juvenile gang tension. It really is a climax to such worthy precursors as "The Blackboard Jungle" of 1955.
WEST SIDE STORY also features some fine acting performances, although curiously not from the leads. The Supporting Oscars bestowed on Rita Moreno and George Chakiris were well deserved as it was they who supplied the Latino passion in spades. Natalie Wood looks gorgeous as usual but uses her eyes rather than her body to express her emotions, which is not very Puerto Rican at all. Richard Beymer is rather wooden and there is a lack of chemistry between him and Natalie. Not surprising, considering that Ms Wood was not pleased with his selection to play opposite her and subsequently gave him the cold shoulder throughout the production.
What really energates WEST SIDE STORY is the brilliant choreography of Jerome Robbins. From the long opening gang ballet scene to it's tragic but inevitable ending, this film never lags. Much more than a Musical, this masterpiece satisfies all the senses and it remains unsurpassed in its achievement.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less Than Perfect Sound, May 23 2003
By A Customer
This magnificent film is truly ageless. I won't bother discussing the plot as so many others have. I simply wish to call your attention to the sound quality of the otherwise perfect
DVD. In a word, the sound "stinks." Far more attention should have been paid to such a crucial element of this film. It's muddy and poorly mixed, especially during the musical numbers. Or perhaps it's just a sloppy digital transfer. Happily, the picture quality is excellent. So, why was so little attention paid to sound? It's a mystery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's a place for us, Jan. 13 2007
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Westside Story [Import] (VHS Tape)
"There's a place for us, A time and place for us. Hold my hand and we're halfway there."

Music: Leonard Bernstein Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim

And there is a movie for us. "West Side Story" is a classic on too many levels to describe here. Everything from the music to the choreography to the actors to...

One big plus is even if the story line is a classic they did not try to duplicate `Romeo & Juliet" with modern clothing. The movie still maintains the feel and action of the play.

Just on the chance that you missed this movie the first time around, it is the story of two people (Tony and Maria) from adverse backgrounds who fall in love. They must cope with their new feelings. And to complicit things they have trouble from their families and society. Will thy overcome these things or will fait and circumstance thwart their efforts and tragedy arise?

I could write a book on what makes this movie great but it is best that you watch and judge for yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise's West Side Story, May 15 2002
This review is from: West Side Story (VHS Tape)
This overrated classic musical lifts Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" storyline, and muddles it with a cold romance and gangs that were dated even at the film's world premiere.
Riff (Russ Tamblyn) is the leader of the Jets, who are constantly having run-ins with Bernardo's (George Chakiris) Puerto Rican gang, the Sharks. Planes and fish don't mix, and things come to a head when the gangs are at a dance when Bernardo's sister Maria (Natalie Wood) meets the Jets' cofounder and Riff's best friend, Tony (Richard Beymer).
Tony is trying to clean up his act, backing away from all the street dancing, but he is immediately smitten with Maria. A jet and a shark cannot be lovers, and since no one in the film has read "Romeo and Juliet," no one knows what will happen...P>Eventually, the film does ape Shakespeare, partially. ...
The positives are what made the film a classic. The songs are excellent, using Stephen Sondheim's lyrics to carry the emotions of the characters. The dancing and ballet choreography are superb. It may seem silly to have street gangs dance-fighting, but the pure athleticism on the part of the dancers is fantastic. Rarely have dance numbers been so physical, and so grand.
On the downside, the main romance takes place waay too quickly. This is quicker than a whirlwind romance, this is a tornado wrapped in a cyclone being blown by a wind machine. The mere speed of the relationship (a day) takes any sympathy for Tony and Maria away from the viewer...P>Leonard Bernstein's music is good in the songs, but not as incidental background noise. He thinks he is scoring a bombastic Broadway song even in quiet moments... The pacing is a little slow, as this marked the beginning of the two and a half hour widescreen musical genre that spawned such bloated cinematic drivel as "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and "Doctor Doolittle."
"West Side Story" is not a perfect classic, and not a dud. It is squarely in the middle of the spectrum. If anything troubles the viewer, it is wondering how this film beat out "Judgement at Nuremburg" for the Best Picture Oscar.
This is unrated, and contains physical violence, mild gun violence, very mild profanity, some drug references, and mild adult situations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars There's a place for us, Aug. 1 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: West Side Story (DVD)
"There's a place for us, A time and place for us. Hold my hand and we're halfway there."

Music: Leonard Bernstein Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim

And there is a movie for us. "West Side Story" is a classic on too many levels to describe here. Everything from the music to the choreography to the actors to...

One big plus is even if the story line is a classic they did not try to duplicate `Romeo & Juliet" with modern clothing. The movie still maintains the feel and action of the play.

Just on the chance that you missed this movie the first time around, based on the Romeo and Juliet play that has been updated, it is the story of two people (Tony and Maria) from adverse backgrounds who fall in love. They must cope with their new feelings. And to complicit things they have trouble from their families and society. Will thy overcome these things or will fait and circumstance thwart their efforts and tragedy arise?

I could write a book on what makes this movie great but it is best that you watch and judge for yourself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars There's a place for us, Aug. 1 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Westside Story [Import] (VHS Tape)
There's a place for us, A time and place for us. Hold my hand and we're halfway there."

Music: Leonard Bernstein Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim

And there is a movie for us. "West Side Story" is a classic on too many levels to describe here. Everything from the music to the choreography to the actors to...

One big plus is even if the story line is a classic they did not try to duplicate `Romeo & Juliet" with modern clothing. The movie still maintains the feel and action of the play.

Just on the chance that you missed this movie the first time around, based on the Romeo and Juliet play that has been updated, it is the story of two people (Tony and Maria) from adverse backgrounds who fall in love. They must cope with their new feelings. And to complicit things they have trouble from their families and society. Will thy overcome these things or will fait and circumstance thwart their efforts and tragedy arise?

I could write a book on what makes this movie great but it is best that you watch and judge for yourself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars There's a place for us, June 18 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
"There's a place for us, A time and place for us. Hold my hand and we're halfway there."

Music: Leonard Bernstein Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim

And there is a movie for us. "West Side Story" is a classic on too many levels to describe here. Everything from the music to the choreography to the actors to...

One big plus is even if the story line is a classic they did not try to duplicate `Romeo & Juliet" with modern clothing. The movie still maintains the feel and action of the play.

Just on the chance that you missed this movie the first time around, it is the story of two people (Tony and Maria) from adverse backgrounds who fall in love. They must cope with their new feelings. And to complicit things they have trouble from their families and society. Will thy overcome these things or will fait and circumstance thwart their efforts and tragedy arise?

I could write a book on what makes this movie great but it is best that you watch and judge for yourself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great musical, a wonderful triumph!, June 19 2004
This is by far my favorite musical. This is truly a great film. No wonder it won best picture at the 1961 academy awards. It is about Tony(Richard Breymer) and Maria(Natalie Wood, trying to put on a Purto Rican accent) They meet at a dance, but their two familes( Tony is American, Maria is Purto Rican) dont approve of their relationship. Marias brother is killed, and so is Tonys friend. Then Tony gets killed, and Maria's brothers girlfriend Anita almost gets rapped. There are some great songs such as Tonight, Cool, I Feel Pretty, and America which only adds to the films greatness. Rita Moreno as Anita, is an excellent dancer.
In case you didnt know, almost all the main roles are dubbed for singing except for the guy who plays Bernardo. The voice overs are very well kept secret, so you think the characters are actually singing their own songs. The film is sort of a Romeo and Juliet in the city type thing. It is about love and predjudice. Truly a movie for those of a mature audience. I have found that when I was a youngster, I hated the film, but now I love it. The goof-offs and immature audience in my class hate the film, but those who are more applied seem to enjoy it. Anyways, Natalie Wood is great, along with the rest of the wondeful cast.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic musical that stands out, June 10 2004
By 
Robert Wise's "West Side Story", based on the story of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is probably one of the best musicals made. It outclasses most musicals in its acting, music, songs, choreography and depiction of story. The music composition by Leonard Bernstein was outstanding and haunting. Stephen Sondheim did a spectacular job in the songs. Jerome Robbins' fantastic choreography makes this movie stand out from the other musicals. The choreography is wonderful, even the fight scenes are choreographed. Due to Puerto Ricans, the dances have the fast pace and the rhythm is very well captured. The dances cover all from the italian to the ballet styles and go well with the songs.
While the story might be simple, the impossible love between two people of different races, the way it is depicted is very realistic. Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood portray their parts very well and the way they meet and are held apart is heartbreaking. Rita Moreno and George Chakiris have done a superb job in acting their parts of how one likes being in America and the other does not. George as Bernardo plays all of the emotions from comedy to anger to hatred well. Unlike most musicals which are non-realistic, this is very realistic. The songs range in all styles from the simple to the operatic, like in "Maria". Songs have intelligent lyrics in some like "I like to be in America", to haunting melody in "You and Me".
This movie has romance, comedy, racial hatred and tragedy which ends in sadness. So many movies have copied its style, its songs but have failed miserably. Putting together such a cast and a support crew is not a simple task. Right from the first point when the movie shows the Jets to the Sharks, there is 20 minutes of music, but the facial expressions say it all. The rivalry of the gangs is well done along with the way they plan the fight and how things get out of control. The cops add to the trouble. This movie is a timeless classic. The DVD itself is well produced, the transfer of the music and video is good. The extras could be better though. I have a soundtrack of this movie by Bernstein that has very good notes written by him from his diary, in fact, this was better than a lot of the extras in the DVD. Despite this, the DVD is worth collecting, one can never get tired of watching this movie, unless one hates tragedies.
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West Side Story [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
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