Er, I mean film… with music …uh score performed live by the San Francisco Symphony! I’m not sure who gets to decide what is shown or how they decide – since I found out about this series last year and started looking at going, the offerings have seemed fairly eclectic. Anyway, between the calendar and ticket availability we ended up going to West Side Story, which, it turns out, was one of the events celebrating the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. <insert It’s the End of the World as We Know It here. you’re welcome.>
By the time we got tickets there wasn’t much selection – either very close or very far. We went with very close, which, in retrospect, maybe wasn’t the way to go. It was cool being so near the musicians and be reminded of the physicality of making music, but the big screen was almost TOO big. Reminded me of my parents’ story of sitting in the front row to see Lawrence of Arabia and getting sand in their eyes.
I know I’ve seen a stage production of West Side Story, maybe even more than one, but pretty sure I’d never seen the movie before. After seeing it I was curious how it came off in its original release era. Some things that might not have raised an eyebrow in 1961 seemed quaint at best here in 2018. Amazing how topical the subject of immigration is though. And the music and dancing were enjoyable as ever.
There was an intermission, I wondered if there had been when the movie was in theatres originally – looking it up in “only” clocks in at 2 hours 33 minutes, which is maybe a tad long by current standards, but I don’t know what movie length was back in the day. The story certainly kept moving though, and I didn’t feel my attention wandering. Fun concept, and of course the live music was very well done. A most entertaining evening!