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Forum Home > General Discussion > West Side Story in 70mm

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In mid-September of 2016, I had the honored privilege of seeing the film West Side Story in 70mm, at the Somerville Theatre, not far from where I live, as part of a 70mm classic film festival that this theatre sponsored.  Although this 70mm classic film festival included other classic films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, and afew others, West Side Story was the film I'd really been looking forward to seeing in 70mm.  I had the good fortune of seeing West Side Story in 70mm...twice, due to a shipping snafu regarding another film that was scheduled to be shown as part of this festival;  It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.   

I was cruising on the Somerville Theatre's website, when I noticed the following  message:  "Due to a shipping snaful regarding It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, tickets for that film will be honored in a showing of the film West Side Story, at 8:00 p. m., Saturday, Sept. 17th"'.  I quickly donned a sweater and my pocketbook, covered Aziza for the night, and hurried to the Somerville theatre. 

Because parking was tight, I had to park somewhat farther away from the movie theatre than I would've liked to, but I hurried to the theatre as fast as I could, only missing the first five minutes of the film.  The movie didn't sell out, but it was well attended, and seeing West Side Story on a Saturday night, in 70mm, yet, makes this film even more special for me.  I had gone solo, but that's fine.  

On Thursday night, September 22nd, I saw West Side Story in 70mm again, at the same movie theatre.  This time, I went with afew people I'd invited to come along with me, and ordered tickets for online:  My sister, who was visiting from the mid-West, an old friend of hers, and a long-time friend of mine.  We all had lots of fun and really enjoyed the movie.  Seeing West Side Story in 70mm was a special treat, because everything seemed even more brilliant, intense, and noticeable.  The various characters seem to really stand out, the facial expressions on the various characters were more noticeable.   The warring Jets and Sharks looked even angrier, rougher and tougher, and the various characters, including Tony and Maria seemed even more alive.  The scenery seemed even more intense, as did the dancing, the beautifully-colored costumes and cinematography, and the already-intensely brilliant Leonard Bernstein musical score.

Anybodys seemed even more intense and determined in her quest to become accepted as an equal by the Jets, and Russ Tamblyn seemed more exuberant, cocky and arrogant.  Bernardo and Anita were even more intense, it seemed, and so was this film, on the whole.  I smiled at the exuberant parts, laughed out loud at the funny parts, was at the edge of my seat at the tenser parts of West Side Story, and even began misting up at the sadder parts of this film.  All told, I had a wonderful time at both showings of the film West Side Story,  and I'd see this film again, in a heartbeat.  I keep waiting for the next screening of this great, golden oldie but keeper of a classic film to come to this area.  

The proprietors of the Somerville Theatre said that they plan to have another 70mm film festival sometime in 2017, which I hope happens, and, in the event that happens, I also hope that they bring West Side Story back, even if they bring in other 70mm classic films.  

February 15, 2017 at 10:44 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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