Instead of the Montagues and the Capulets, it’s the Jets and the Sharks, two street gangs onthe mean streets of Manhattan’s west side (these gangs wouldn’t recognize their old stompinggrounds today). Full of energy and wit, bursting with spectacular choreography, the film is atriumph of the musical form.
A brand new 5.1 mix, and it sounds wonderful. There aren’t enough surround sound effectsto create an environment, the music is reproduced in …pectacular fashion: big, expansive, andemphatically surround. The vocals come through very well too, and the dialogue is crisp andclear.
A first-class job here too. The print, barring the extremely occasional and isolated speckle,is in marvellous condition. The colours, contrasts and blacks are strong, and the flesh tones arebang-on. The ratio is a gorgeous 2.20:1 anamorphic widescreen.
All of the extras are on Disc 2. Here we have “West Side Memories,” a 56-minutedocumentary. Much time is spent lionizing Jerome Robbins (and rightfully so, given that thespectacular choreography is his doing), but the conflicts that led to his dismissal as co-directorand passed over quite quickly, and Robbins himself doesn’t present his side of things, beingdead. Still, an interesting piece. The Film Archives section includes four trailers (animated, re-issue, original issue and theatrical), the original intermission, and three photo galleries(Production Design, Storyboard, and Behind the Scenes). There’s a storyboard comparisonmontage (about 5 minutes long), and trailers for the DVDs of Some Like It Hot, Fiddler on theRoof and The Last Waltz. The menus on both discs are scored and animated all the way downthe line — very impressive. Now, I don’t really think these extras warranted a separate disc(compared to such packed single disc releases as Buckaroo Banzai and Sunrise). Very neat,though, is the last extra: an enormous book that reproduces the entire script, along with a timelineof the film’s making, publicity material, and so on.
A truly fine transfer of a fine film, and that’s almost enough of a selling point. The extras addup to a nice package, particularly the accompanying book.
Special Features List
- “West Side Memories” Documentary
- Storyboard Comparison Montage
- Trailer Collection
- Original Intermission
- Photo Galleries
- Script Book