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The Hours (2002)
An Oscar to All Three!
To me, the premise of "The Hours" was a little intimidating to me before I finally managed to see the film: Three women are linked through three time periods to Virginia Woolf's novel 'Mrs. Dalloway'. I was concerned that my blazing ignorance to Ms. Woolf's work, and this one in particular, would hinder my enjoyment of the film and my ability to understand it. Not so. Yes, 'Mrs. Dalloway' was at the root of the three stories presented, but everything you need to know is in the film. This is it, basically: Mrs. Dalloway decides one morning -- the morning of a party she is throwing -- that she will buy the flowers herself. Though she projects the appearance of togetherness and cheer, she is a lonely, empty woman inside. Oh, and someone dies at the end. That's it.
In "The Hours", we meet three women. First is Virginia herself (Nicole Kidman), and our introduction comes in the form of her 1941 suicide at the age of 59. A feminist Ophelia, she places a stone in her dress pocket, walks to a nearby stream, and lets it carry her away. Her brief, mortal stroll is voiced-over by her suicide letter, which explains to her husband that this act of desperation is to spare him the madness she feels is returning. The rest of her story takes place in 1923 as 'Mrs. Dalloway' is working its way out of her. Flashing forward to 1951, we see Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), depressed housewife of WWII veteran Dan (John C. Reilly) and mother of a young son. It's Dan's birthday, and Laura, in the middle of reading 'Mrs. Dalloway', decides that she will feel better today and bake a cake. Cut to 2001, and publisher Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) is preparing a reception for author and friend (and long-ago lover) Richard (Ed Harris). Richard has just won a prestigious poetry award but is too ill from AIDS and related dementia to want to go to the party.
Each of these women are depressed. Each awakes and acquires flowers. Each has something special going on that day -- a party of sorts. Each of these women kisses another woman. They all face suicide, and they all face the choice between death and the imprisonment of life. They each make a choice. The variations on these choices, while sometimes disorienting, are exactingly faithful to each other. Sometimes they reveal themselves suddenly, consecutively. Other times they surface gradually, inconspicuously. Like Philip Glass' subtle, driving score, they build gracefully from a whisper into a cry and by film's end find themselves whispering again.
"The Hours" is a miracle of a movie. Literate, involving, active -- it is that rare film about women and their unique experiences that neither excludes nor condemns the role of men in their lives. The men of "The Hours", Woolf' stoic and supportive husband (Stephen Dillane), Brown's husband and son, poet Richard, and his former lover Louis (Jeff Daniels) -- the sexual politics of the film are sometimes scattered but fascinating -- are innocent bystanders who, while making decisions to maintain or find their own happiness, neither victims nor devalue these unhappy women. Their depressions are unto themselves, and their lives entrap them in ways that their respective others cannot assist or understand.
All of the performances in "The Hours" are excellent, uniquely extraordinary, and utterly unforgettable. Ms. Kidman, unrecognizable behind a prosthetic nose, does more refined work here than I have ever seen from her. Her Woolf is depressed but never pitiful and always strong whatever the hardship. Ms. Moore, playing a very different '50s housewife from her "Far From Heaven" turn, gets it just right. In the midst of true depression, something as simple as baking a cake becomes an overwhelming, impossible task. Moore's battle with the cake is heartbreakingly sorrowful when she fails, yet somehow sadder when she gets it right. Ms. Streep, meanwhile, shows us again why she is Streep -- equally profound unraveling before the party and, in a devastating scene at the end, as she just listens to a voice from the past that puts things into perspective.
Sad, but never far from hope, "The Hours" not only also has an outstanding supporting cast (including Claire Danes, Allison Janney, Miranda Richardson) and superb direction from Stephen Daldry ("Billy Elliot"), it is also one of the finest films of 2003 and of recent memory. A great DVD must-own for any Nicole Kidman fan, any Julianne Moore fan, or even any Meryl Streep fan, BUT ESPECIALLY JULIANNE MOORE!!
2002 114 min. Rated: PG-13
Far from Heaven (2002)
Julianne Moore is Absolute Heaven!
"Far from Heaven" is Todd Haynes' homage and attempt to recreate what was called, in the 50's and 60's, a "weepie," a domestic melodrama with all the attendant production values: lush musical score, sumptuous costumes and a heroine with big concerns/problems mostly having to do with Love, Family and usually both. Think "Written on the Wind," "Magnificent Obsession" or "All that Heaven Allows." The problem with this kind of a venture is that in order for it to work it must be handled in a non-ironic, straightforward manner. Haynes's and his actors succeed most but not 100% of the time. The very nature of an enterprise like this calls for a somewhat arch and precise acting technique as we are dealing with a dead genre probably farther removed from our 2002 reality than are Shakespeare's plays. Like the best of these films, "Far from Heaven" can be unbelievably moving; when we are not only marveling at the gorgeous mise en scene but when the superior acting abilities of the amazing Julianne Moore as Cathy shine through. Cathy and her husband Frank (Dennis Quaid) lead a tranquil life in Connecticut where beautiful and well-put together Cathy is slowly withering away, being eaten alive by the fact that her perfect life is irrevocably punctured when she catches her husband in the arms of another man. But this is not all. Cathy's natural openness towards everyone she comes across as well as her empathy for other races specifically her African American gardener Raymond (Dennis Haysbert) is also causing gossip among her friends and her neighbors. The outwardly disapproving and disgusted looks on the townspeople's faces when Cathy is with Raymond are laughable in one way but in another really goes to the heart of race relations then as well as now. Has much changed in this regard in the last 44 years? There is a very poignant scene in which Frank slaps Cathy across the face and Cathy, always the understanding one, reassures him that all is "fine" but then pathetically asks him to bring her some ice to quell the swelling. She tells her friend, Eleonor (played immaculately by Patricia Clarkson): "Frank didn't mean to hit me." Frank, in a kind of homosexual panic, lashes out at Cathy, the one person who loves and accepts him; as well as the one who reminds him on a daily basis that his love for her is a lie. The scene in which Frank asks Cathy for a divorce is a stunner: watch Moore's eyes and body language. Even when her heart seems about to explode, her eyes remain dry, calm and understanding even in this harrowing and unspeakable situation. So as not to portray her as the ultimate victim, Haynes has smartly imbued Cathy with a strong desire to change from the all accepting, never questioning woman she's been to the strong, independent woman she aches to become. Her heartbreaking attempts to contact the N.A.A.C.P to volunteer are both incredibly naïve yet strongly sympathetic. Heaven to Cathy Whitaker is a place in which she is always loved, always valued, forever cherished. Nothing could be more basic yet more unattainable whether it be 1957 or 2002.
2002 107 min. Rated: PG-13
American Beauty (1999)
One of the Best Films of 1999.
The first time I saw the now famous poster for American Beauty was months before it opened. I was going down the escalator of a posh local multiplex, and there it was at the end of my descent. I looked at those red roses adorning an actresses midsection, and I remarked to a friend that this looked like a very special movie. I don't what it was about the artwork that made me say that, but it turned out to be an accurate remark. The movie opened in a limited engagement in September 1999 and went on to build and build. In March, it won Oscars in major categories - Best Picture, Best Actor [Kevin Spacey] and Best Director. At the time, there were some nay-sayers who said the film painted too dark a picture of American life. I won't debate this, but I will say that there are precedents in the Academy Awards. For example, Billy Wilder's The Apartment, a scathing comedy about how morally low some people will go to move up in corporate life, won Best Picture in 1961. Brilliant is brilliant, no matter what the subject is, and America has had a seriously cynical side to it for decades.
Welcome to the Burnham household. Meet Lester and Carolyn [Spacey and Annette Bening] and their lovely teenage daughter, Jane [Thora Birch]. The Burnhams have it all - the lucrative jobs, the topflight public schools, the perfect suburban home, the immaculate lawn with its borders of American beauty roses. What could possibly be missing from their lives? Oh, just little things like happiness and fulfillment. Lester and Carolyn certainly no longer love each other. Theirs is an uneasy truce. On the surface, Jane comes across as a snide and ungrateful child, but you have to ask yourself who wouldn't be eager to leave such a dismal scene? How often many of us point the finger at our children when what we are showing them are lives devoid of love, passion, honestly and integrity.
Jane is a cheerleader at the local high school, and one night the Burnhams decide to attend a game. They want to show support for their daughter, who truly doesn't want them there. Lester sees another cheerleader, a friend of Jane's, and instantly falls in lust. He becomes obsessed with the girl. He quits his job and blackmails his boss into giving him $60,000 severance pay. He buys a red Pontiac Firebird. Carolyn, who constantly berates herself for not being a success, retaliates by starting an affair with an arch rival in the real estate business. Their actions are not exactly what they appear to be. Lester's pursuit isn't all about an older man / young girl relationships. Its about the loss of youth and passion and about the dire consequences that can be spawned by living a whole lifetime of fitting in. Carolyn feels she has totally lost controlnot just of Lester and Jane, but of life as a whole. I think they are after the same answers, only Lester uses a brutally honest approach. And now Jane is really ready to split.
Compounding all these problems is the arrival of some strange new neighbors. Col. Frank Fitts is a retired Marine who's feelings are so repressed he's become a walking time bomb. His wife has retreated into a haunting, silent world of her own. Teenage son Ricky is obsessed with videotaping everything he encounters, including Jane. He supports his hobby by dealing vast quantities of dope. Soon Jane and Ricky have a thing going, and everything climaxes for all involved in one bizarre night of the most memorable and improabable miscommunications.
Is this a comedy or a drama? That's hard to say. Many viewers do not relate to the Burnhams specific problems, but they do identify with their general feelings. In laughing at them, many of us are laughing at ourselves. Take the problem of trying too hard to fit in. There is nothing wrong with doing this, unless you lose your own identity in the process. And many would agree that, while there is nothing fundamentally wrong with being American, there is currently something fundamentally wrong with American life. Personally, I think it has less to do with moral issues than it does with a basic spiritual emptiness that comes with being obsessed with external appearances and with material goods.
American Beauty is a brilliant movie and, to me, probably was the best American film of 1999. Like a few others before it, it stands uniquely on its own, owing very little to movies that came before it. I love the way it peels away the layers of the Burnhams' lives like onions. I admire its essentially nonjudgmental point of view. Best of all, I like the way that everyone is somehow redeemed at the end. Its a movie that makes you wish there were a few more great ones like it out there.
Where's Poppa? (1970)
A True Comic Classic!
The brothers Hocheiser make a solemn promise to their dying father that they will "never put their mother (Ruth Gordon) in a home." But brother Gordon (George Siegel) gets stuck with the old dingbat and she is wrecking his life. His law practice is falling apart, his sex life nonexistent, and he can't even hire a nurse to take care of the wacko. Then, suddenly, a nurse-- the girl of his dreams comes along, but mother has other ideas. This wonderful, creative, hilarious 1970 classic comedy directed by Carl Reiner with its gallows humor could not be made today. We have lost much of our artistic freedom to political correctness, commercial timidity and lack of creative talent. But don't take my word for it, ask Mel Brooks who has remarked that some of his movies could not be made today either. Fortunately we can get the video. The movie does require a somewhat offbeat taste to appreciate. Everything and everyone is in a kind of reality warp, the Hocheiser family, the Central Park muggers, the police, the nurse Louise (Patricia Van Devere). The movie is also comment on life in America in 1970, and on how family members manipulate each other with guilt. Finally, I like the ending the movie was released with, it really does work better artistically.
1970 87 minutes Rated:R CC.
The Joy Luck Club (1993)
Eat A Bowl of Tea!
Having not seen it since it was in the theater, I forgot just how good "The Joy Luck Club" is. The story of each of the women is personal and engaging. Different lives and pasts leading to the same destination, each road is harsh and lined with perils. The film is a nice blend of period piece and modern drama.
I love the dialog ("She will know I am waiting like a tiger in the trees, now ready to leap out and cut her spirit loose.") Visually, the film is almost too pretty. The women are all heart-breakingly beautiful, and each setting is dream-like in it's perfection. However, what could be a flaw is a strength, due largely to the quality of the actors. Each of the characters is strong and individual.
I seriously question the slanderous "R" rating! I think it could have sufficed with a PG-13! I mean, there is hardly any sex, no nudity, but just some violence! The MPAA needs to get a life!!
Otherwise, It is a very touching story of mothers and daughters, of hopes and fears. Victor Wong, even has a small part. A good film and time all around!
1993 139 minutes Rated: R CC.
Sex and the City (1998)
.."Sex And The City" is so unique, so original, so fresh, I totally understand why it appeals to men, women.... These stories are delivered with such honesty, and rawness that you can't help but say to yourself: "oh my God, I feel like that too!" or "that happens to me!" We all know of someone, who has experienced 'something' similar to the story lines. That's the beauty of "Sex And The City". It tells it like it is. And Something has to be said for the BRILLIANT performances each and every one of these women (and men) gives. Sarah Jessica Parker is amazing. She radiates every emotion to perfection. Kim Cattrall is my favorite. She's a blonde bombshell who does not beat around the bush. Her character is so openly honest with 'everything', you can't help but love her character "Samantha" and either cheer or crack up at her episodes. Cynthia Nixon's character is awesome. I think we all have a little bit of "Miranda" in all of us. And Kristin Davis as the annoying, "Charlotte", gives the story lines that feeling of "hope" and "innocence". This show truly deserves all the praise and awards it's currently getting. Do yourself a favor, buy and see "Sex And The City" and see for yourself. You'll be hooked, and you'll discover a world that many try to "avoid". We're only human! We deserve a little "Sex and the City".
Your Friends & Neighbors (1998)
Great Narrative Film with strict interiors!
This is Neil LaBute's more lavish but no less vitriolic follow-up to "In the Company of Men". Whereas that film had a documentary sense of realism to it, this one feels very much like a play. Although nothing mystical happens, there's a sense of surreality that coats this film. From the opening music, an oddly appealing version of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" played on four cellos by a quartet called Apocalyptica, to the main titles, which are superimposed over a sedate Alex Katz print called "The Cocktail Party", we enter a world of wealth and culture. Only under the glossy surface beats a soulless heart.
Witness an early dinner scene. Two couples meet at one's swanky townhouse, exchange pleasantries and share glasses of wine. The women are smartly dressed. The men are too (one of them laments a spill on his new doeskin jacket). But they never connect in a tangible way. Until, that is, an offer of infidelity is confidentially proffered. The movie uses this moment to jump off into a world where everyone (but one) appears stable but all are ineffectual and socially retarded. This point is further driven home by a series of scenes set in an art gallery, where each character uses the same verbatim small talk with an artist's assistant to expose significant aspects of their character. They're artificial moments, but delicately set up the tone of the film. The cast is uniformly excellent, if not overly mannered, which further helps create the feeling that you're watching a play rather than a film. Ben Stiller's character represents this the best, not just because he's a drama professor. He is erudite and articulate when "performing", such as when lecturing his students, or giving a tour of a museum. But when he gets into social situations, Stiller fails to complete a single one of his thoughts. Most of his sentences trail off, ending with the question "You know?" or just a resigned sigh. It's an evocative (if a touch shallow) character trait, but damn if it doesn't get annoying by film's end. I had this intense desire to slap Ben good.
Aaron Eckhart sports a $2 haircut, a cheesy moustache, and a bulging gut. He's playing a character exactly opposite to his toxic Chad from "In the Company of Men", and it's amazing that one man can pull off both roles. Eckhart has proven himself to be a marvelous chameleon-like actor, easily filling out the pathetic and needy sap LaBute has written for him here.
Jason Patric gets the toxic role this time, playing a misogynistic obstetrician (he's prone to playing football with a model of a fetus). His stories of extreme behaviour "amuse" his friends. One involves sending a retributive note to an ex-girlfriend on doctor's stationary, informing her that she may be HIV-positive. Another, in the scene that the film will be forever known for, involves high school hijinks in the gym shower with a bullied boy named Timmy. Patric wrings every bit of wickedness from this story, told in one incredibly long close-up take. It's a powerful little moment that leaves the audience (not to mention the other characters in the scene) exclaiming, "What the heck was that?"
Catherine Keener, so energetic in "Being John Malkovich", is much more subdued here. But you can feel her frustration bubbling up beneath the service (she's Stiller's girlfriend, and is as fed up with him as the audience is). Keener is a very self-aware actress, knowing when to go full throttle and when to pull back. Hers is not the showiest role in the film, but it ranks right up there with the most memorable.
Nastassja Kinski is used the least of the six main actors (author's note: Come to think of it, there are only six speaking parts in the whole movie, making the theatrical nature of the piece even more profound). And it's probably for the best. She is fetching, but doesn't bring much more to the role than quiet neediness.
Amy Brenneman plays Eckhart's wife, and has an affair with Stiller. She stays nervous and reticent throughout the movie, never giving in to her boredom or frustration even when the moment calls for a little blow-up. In the beginning she passes for the innocent moral centre of the film, but by the end she is the one most corrupted. Brenneman does well playing both sides of this coin.
Writer/Director LaBute appears to have learned much since "Men". He's more confident using close-ups to get in his characters' faces. And the film looks luscious bathed in warm autumnal hues. The story, such as it is, is told through a series of vignettes, each tellingly juxtaposed with the next to subtly portray the differences between men and women. A scene of three women talking about sex over lunch is followed by one of three men in a steam room pondering the same subject, in a cruder manner. And though there is no real narrative thrust, the individual scenes themselves are propulsive enough to keep the viewer interested.
1998 100 minutes Rated: R CC.
Originally to be rated X!!
Like titillating porn, Mandingo is the kind of film you rent and hope no one you know is looking. Then you hurry home, lower the blinds, make sure the kids are in bed, then turn on the VCR in anticipation. This film is so politically incorrect it's worth it on that merit alone! Black and white stereotypes are played up to the hilt and everybody is running around "pleasuring" any thing that moves. If you don't take it seriously, you can have loads of fun and laughs watching this one. Snortin' Norton does a great job as Meade the Mandingo fighting buck. Ol' Jimbo Mason is superb as the aging hard-line plantation owner who is very strict and true to the old traditional ways. His son Perry King is a much kinder and gentler soul without a cruel streak in him like the other characters. Susan George is great as the sly conniving Southern Belle who is not as innocent as she seems. Ol' Mr. Bentley from the Jeffersons - Paul Benedict plays a fine sub-role as Mr. Brambley the slave trader. All in all, let the liberals cry and whine. Get this film and have a ball with it!
1975 121 minutes Rated: R/X CC.
Romeo and Juliet (1968)
Olivia Hussey's finest hour!
"Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny. Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.... A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life."
This version of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" is a masterpiece. If you have read the play, you'll notice that the film version is very similar. The actors are very fitting for their characters. Up till this point in this play, directors were using older players. This version uses younger, more fitting actors and actresses. Juliet, played by actress Olivia Hussey, is a young, headstrong girl looking for love. Being that her parents, Lord and Lady Capulet, didn't provide her with much sensitivity and love, Juliet is forced to confide in her nurse. After Juliet finds love in Romeo, actor Leonard Whiting, she learns he is a Montague, her great enemy's son. This devastates both Romeo and Juliet, but nothing will get in the way of their love for one another. The film takes us from the meeting of the title characters to the famous balcony scene. After this, Romeo's friend Mercutio, actor John McEnery battles with Juliet's cousin Tybalt, played by Michael York. He is slain and this starts a war between Tybalt and Romeo. "I am fortune's foe!" Romeo yells this after he kills Tybalt to avenge Mercutio, and then realizes that he is banished from fair Verona. This occurrence threatens Romeo and Juliet's marriage. Another threat to their marriage is the proposal of Paris, actor Roberto Bisacco, to Juliet. Her father, of course, sees Paris as a noble man, worthy of his daughter's hand in marriage. The proposal leaves Juliet to disappoint her mother and father, and the nurse thinks she should marry Paris, although she is already married to Romeo. Now Juliet is left to take desperate measures into her own hands. At Friar Lawrence's cell, actor Milo O'Shea, Juliet insists on his help in the rejoining of her and Romeo. He sees she's desperate and gives her a vial filled with a poison to make her seem dead, while she is really in a deep stage of sleep. He says Romeo will hear the news that she really isn't dead, he'll come and she'll wake. Their marriage should be renewed. As in any other tragedy, not all of the plans are carried out and death is the outcome. With death comes a sense of remorse, both in the Montague and Capulet families. The young actors give the audience a more realistic view of what Shakespeare wanted the characters to be. Hussey and Whiting perform Romeo and Juliet is the fashion in which Shakespeare intended. Both like love, want a little more of it, and will go to great lengths to obtain it. Many viewers argue that they are not truly in love with each other, but rather in lust. The time frame of the film and play is over the course of a couple days, and love usually takes longer to grow than that. None of the characters get enough sleep, and this may force them to act irrationally. You choose for yourself; is "Romeo and Juliet" a story about true love or just a teenage crush? Enjoy the film!
1968 140 minutes Rated: PG CC>
West Side Story (1961)
Romeo & Juliet musical-style
Those who have nothing will do everything in their power to protect it, even if all they have is territory, in which case they will claim ownership by planting a metaphorical flag in the middle of it and marking the boundaries. And, forever after, anyone invading their "turf" had better have a good reason, because within this imaginary domain a peer status is also established, and to some-- especially the ones at the top of the pyramid-- this becomes all they have or will ever hope to have in their entire lives. But there is one thing that will ultimately, at least for some, supersede this delusional monarchy, and that thing is universal: Love. Which is exactly what happens when a young couple from different sides of the street fall in love, in the landmark musical "West Side Story," directed by Robert Wise, with staging and choreography by Jerome Robbins. The streets of New York City are the setting for this contemporary version of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," the drama of which plays out within the confines of a microcosmic world which encompasses a sparse few city blocks and is ruled by rival gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, who are constantly vying for territory and whose soul purpose in life is protecting their turf. Tony (Richard Beymer) is a former Jet, once one of their leaders, in fact, but has left it all behind in an attempt to get on with his life. His best friend, Riff (Russ Tamblyn), however, is still the leader of the Jets, who are currently embroiled in their ongoing fight with the Sharks. Maria (Natalie Wood) is Puerto Rican, and her brother, Bernardo (George Chakiris) is the leader of the Sharks. And when circumstances bring Tony and Maria together and they fall in love, it sets the stage for tragedy on a grand scale, all of which is captured on the screen in this film, the most celebrated musical of all time.
When a movie earns ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director (Jerome Robbins also received a special award for choreography), it clearly indicates that this is a film of extraordinary merit. And this one is-- by anyone's measuring stick. Told through the magic of music, presented through the dramatic and driving Oscar winning songs and score of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, Shakespeare's tragic love story becomes a transporting, memorable experience that is at once a sweeping visual extravaganza while at the same time an intimate chronicle of the romance between the star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria. Lavishly staged, the film evokes a true 1950's sensibility while retaining the agelessness of the passion at the heart of the story. The production numbers are dynamic, from the quietude of the enthralling and poignant "Maria," and the perky, uplifting "I Feel Pretty," to the energetic "Dance At The Gym" and the thundering, dramatic strains which accompany the rumble. This is an example of filmmaking at it's best, brought to fruition through the talents of Wise, Robbins and a superlative cast and crew, whose many and varied individual contributions are too lengthy to mention here.
This may not have been Natalie Wood's greatest role, but she is nevertheless unforgettable as Maria. She is charming and beautiful, with riveting, dark eyes that speak volumes about her character. Her accent is passable, if not perfect, but most importantly her natural ability as an actor enables her to create a very real, believable person in Maria. There's an endearing vulnerability about her, yet in her eyes you find the pride and determination that makes Maria strong. It's a solid performance, and just one of the many reasons this film was so well received.
This was without question Richard Beymer's day in the sun, career-wise, and his portrayal of Tony is credible, but fairly lackluster. If a weakness in the film could be singled out, it would be his performance; still, he does well enough, but in the end his work here is average, to say the very best. As his buddy, Riff, Russ Tamblyn comes across much better, and makes the most of showcasing his considerable talents in what is one of his most memorable roles, as well.
The performances that really steal the show, however, are turned in by George Chakiris as Bernardo, and Rita Moreno as Maria's friend, Anita; both of whom deservedly received Oscars in the Best Supporting categories for their work here. Chakiris, with his dark, good looks has never been more convincing or better in any role, and he has a commanding presence especially in the production numbers. And Moreno is in a class all her own as the fiery Anita; she dominates the screen whenever she is on, especially during the dance at the gym and in the rousing "America." She is such a vital presence in this film, and along with Chakiris, more than helps in bringing the music and story to life.
Also in supporting roles that add so much to this film and demand to be singled out, are Tony Mordente, as Action; Tucker Smith, as Ice; David Winters, as Arab; and Eliot Feld, as Baby John.
The additional supporting cast includes Simon Oakland (Lieutenant Schrank), Ned Glass (Doc), William Bramley (Officer Krupke), Bert Michaels (Snowboy), Susan Oakes (Anybodys), Gina Trikonis (Graziella), Carole D'Andrea (Velma) Jose De Vega (Chino), Jay Norman (Pepe) and Gus Trikonis (Indio). An emotionally involving story underscored by a blood-stirring soundtrack, "West Side Story" is without question one of the all time great movie musicals, thoroughly entertaining and presented with the kind of flare that is rarely even attempted anymore. Within the genre, it's the best of the best, the realized vision of a group of extraordinary artists. Earning Oscars, as well, for Cinematography, Costumes, Art and Set Direction and editing, this is a prime example of the true magic of the movies.
1961 151 minutes CC.