April 12th, 2016

  • mapol

West Side Story (film) Screening at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, in Brookline, MA, last night:

Hi again, everybody:

Last night, the Coolidge Corner Theatre, in Brookline, MA, played the great, golden oldie-but-keeper of a classic film, West Side Story, as the first part of their new "Cinema Jukebox" program, which entails various types of films, a different film per week. I had bought tickets for myself and a friend and neighbor whom I'd invited to come along with me, online, on the movie theatre's website quite awhile back, and printed them both on my printer, at home, which was easier that way.

My friend and I had been anticipating and excitedly looking forward to this big evening for a long time, and last night, it finally came. We agreed to leave our building at around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, to avoid getting hung up in the late-afternoon/evening rush-hour traffic, especially the tie-ups that tend to occur on and near the Boston University bridge at that hour. My friend and I left a bit later than had intended, since she had to do an errand, which took longer than she'd expected it to. The rush-hour was just barely beginning to get underway, but, fortunately, since we'd left for the theatre early enough, I was able to get a decent parking space, near the theatre. The pay stations for the parking lot are in affective until 8:00 p. m., but since the film was due to get over well past 8:00 p. m., I put just enough money into the pay-station to tide us over for the 3-hour limit.

We'd gotten there in plenty of time, so we walked around the Coolidge Corner area for awhile, had a little snack at the Panera cafe across the street, and then got into the ticket-holders' line, to wait to be admitted into the theatre for the West Side Story screening, so that we could get decent seats, when they let everybody in about 20 minutes prior to the starting of the movie. It's a good thing we got in line early, because the line wound around to the other side of the CVS building next to the theatre, and, while we got some good seats, many people came in later, and had a tough time looking for seats, and having difficulty finding them. It looked as if all the prime seats in the theatre had been taken up by other people, including me and my friend!

After a short speech from the projectionist, as well as some previews from other films that were playing in the theatre, the movie West Side Story began. Fortunately, they were able to get it in 35-millimeter film, although there were afew glitches in the film that were overlooked. As usual, I noticed some things in this particular viewing of the film West Side Story that I had not noticed in the last viewing of this film.

Although I've seen some beautifully pristine HD digital projection versions of the film West Side Story, I have to admit that movies that have been made with regular 35-mm film look more three-dimensional. In the Officer Krupke scene of the film, I noticed that even Graziella and Velma were participating a little bit in the lampooning of Officer Krupke, who'd visited the Jets and told them not to cause trouble, although the girls' motions and gestures were far more subtle.

During the Dance at the Gym scene, as well as the Prologue scene, I noticed people in the background that I'd noticed before, either. Another thing that I noticed, especially during the pre-Rumble scene, the Prologue scene, and even more intensely, during the Rumble and the Cool scenes themselves, was that the faces on the warring Jets and Sharks looked even angrier, and the boys looked even tougher and rougher than usual. Even Richard Beymer's Tony looked tougher and more like an ex-gangster than usual, and Maria, Anita and the other girls in the film, looked even more mature and aware than usual, as well.

Although last night's West Side Story screening didn't sell out, the 433-seat movie theatre (the large, main one.) didn't sell out, there were only a little over a hundred seats left by the time the screening started. Many people came later, bought their tickets at the ticket window, and then joined everybody in the line to get in. My friend and neighbor who'd come with me to the West Side Story screening hadn't been to the Coolidge Corner Theatre for many years, so this was her first time seeing this movie theatre after it had been renovated, and had the new retro-looking marquis on the front of it, and she was quite impressed.

Everything about West Side Story looked as cool as ever, and the on-location sets, in New York City's West Side/Hell's Kitchen, as well as in downtown Los Angeles, and the parts of the film that had been filmed on a large sound stage, looked even more rugged, rough and rundown, in this particular screening, making it even more interesting. All told, it was a wonderful evening, and, to top off a special evening, my friend and I went for ice-cream at the J. P. Licks ice-cream store across the street from the movie theatre. We each had our own respective desserts, and we sat and talked until well after eleven o'clock. We didn't get back home until well past midnight, but this was a wonderful evening, and my friend was more than grateful that I'd invited her to come along, and I was more than glad to have her.

The MGM quote "Unlike other classics, West Side Story grows younger." rings so true. If the film West Side Story came around to a Boston-area movie every three to six months, I'd be happy!