Reviews

West Side Story

5

Wanna start a fight? Put a bunch of musical fans in a room and tell them to agree on the five greatest song-and-hoof movies of all time. Then stand well back, because it will turn bloody... The Red Shoes, Meet Me In St Louis, Cabaret and Singin' In The Rain all have a case. Some weirdos will fight tooth and nail to see The Sound Of Music there; others would gut their own mother to make sure that High Society gets the nod.

But one entry brooks no argument and, yes, that's West Side Story. It may be four decades old, but it still gives you a tingle deep in your spine every time you hear the finger-clicking opening number. From Leonard Bernstein's flawless score (`America' and `I Feel Pretty' rubbing lyrics up against `Somewhere', `Jet Song' and `Tonight') to Jerome Robbins' way-ahead-of-its-time choreography, from the astounding opening sequence (a history of escalating gang warfare told in wordless ballet on the streets of New York) to the slap-in-the-face shock of the downbeat Romeo And Juliet finale, this is a cast-iron great. And anyone who disagrees better be ready for a rumble...

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