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West Side Story books

So I fell out of the loop on movie-related books. Amazon sent me an email this morning that included the one called West Side Story as Cinema: The Making and Impact of an American Masterpiece. Can anyone tell me if there's any information in it regarding Simon Oakland being cast/his performance as Lieutenant Schrank/etc.? Or if any of the books touch on that, like the one told by many of the surviving cast members? I own two other books, Something's Coming, Something Good, which ended up being more about the play than the film, and the one from the Music on Film series, which, while about the film, wasn't helpful towards the angle I was after.

I did find the snippet about the "As Cinema" book in the Book tag here about Schrank being supposed to "song-talk" during the Tonight ensemble, which was very interesting! I saw the notation of Schrank's part in the song in the copy of the script that came with the DVD, but I don't recall it mentioning he would have talked rather than sung. (Simon Oakland could sing, incidentally. I know from a brief snippet in a Bonanza episode, of all things.)


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 22nd, 2015 08:13 am (UTC)
OK, I just pulled out my copy and no, there's nothing at all about Simon or Shrank in that book. I pulled out my copies of West Side Story : cultural perspectives on an American musical and The making of West Side Story and couldn't see anything.
Jul. 22nd, 2015 08:17 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's something that it seems like no one knows/remembers anymore! I would really be interested to learn how he was cast. Oh well, thanks for trying!
Jul. 22nd, 2015 08:38 am (UTC)
I also just looked on WorldCat to see if anyone wrote a book about Simon and the answer is no.

Clearly you need to write it.
Jul. 22nd, 2015 09:01 am (UTC)
I'm still thinking about this so...this wouldn't have anything about the casting of Oakland but there MIGHT be something about Shrank in Sondheim's book Finishing the Hat. That's where I found out about the songs that didn't get into the musical.

I don't own that one, I got a copy from the Library.

Edited at 2015-07-22 09:01 am (UTC)
Jul. 22nd, 2015 09:19 am (UTC)
Thanks for the tip! I'll have to see if I can find that one.

It would be epic if there was a book on Simon. I would love to write it, if I could gather enough material for one! ;)
Jul. 30th, 2015 09:25 pm (UTC)
OK, I got the following from the Library :

Robert Wise on his films, The films of Robert Wise & Self and society in the films of Robert Wise.

No mention of either Simon Oakland or Lt. Shrank whatsoever other than the last book which calls him a "thug".

Hope you're having better luck.
Jul. 30th, 2015 11:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks for trying! :) A thug, what a simplistic description. Blah.

I've pretty much given up on there being anything, but I do plan to look at the one you recommended if I can find it!
Jul. 31st, 2015 07:30 am (UTC)
If your local Library doesn't carry it, ask them to do an ILL search. They'll know what you mean.
Jul. 31st, 2015 08:29 am (UTC)
My library actually charges a fee to do inter-library loan stuff, so I don't try that too much. But I'll keep it in mind! :)
Jul. 31st, 2015 09:41 am (UTC)
A fee! What! Who does that, it's just wrong.
Jul. 31st, 2015 09:54 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've never encountered any other library that did that! Maybe it's because it's a small town and the library doesn't have much money, but it's still very irritating.
Jul. 31st, 2015 10:05 am (UTC)
Well then, I'll get a copy of it and look at it. I can get books from all over my state for no additional charge.

I'll get back to you when it comes in for me.
Jul. 31st, 2015 11:57 am (UTC)
Aww, thanks! :)
Aug. 5th, 2015 05:48 pm (UTC)
OK, I got the book from the Library. But alas, there's nothing at all about Lt. Shrank. So I'm currently out of ideas but I'll keep thinking about it.
Aug. 5th, 2015 11:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks for trying so hard! Probably the best bet would be to find someone who knew Simon and be willing to do an interview. I tried contacting someone once whom I thought was his daughter, but regardless of whether she was or not, she never replied.
Aug. 6th, 2015 07:29 am (UTC)
Maybe you could create a Facebook fan page for him and that might attract someone who knew him. You never know.

Edited at 2015-08-06 07:29 am (UTC)
Aug. 6th, 2015 09:22 am (UTC)
Thanks for the tip! It hasn't happened yet, in all the years I and co-Simon fan rose_of_pollux have run the Facebook page, but who knows, maybe it still might. :)

I need to get cracking on updating the website and the blog.... At the end of the month, it's Simon's 100th birthday and the tribute material must be prepared to celebrate. :) At least we can discuss some of the other roles we've seen Simon in throughout the year.... We have quite a lot of those backlogged.
Aug. 6th, 2015 12:04 pm (UTC)
I just ordered the letters of Leonard Bernstein so I'll poke around in that when it comes.

At the end of the month, it's Simon's 100th birthday

Yup, I plan to post on the 28th.

Aug. 6th, 2015 11:02 pm (UTC)

And I noticed a DVD called The Making of West Side Story. I wonder if that's just the same as the special feature on the DVD of the movie. I already went through that, if so.

Aug. 7th, 2015 09:56 am (UTC)
The Making Of West Side Story
This 1984 video is a behind the scenes look at Bernstein's first recording of his classic score, West Side Story. It's got nothing to do with the film.
Aug. 7th, 2015 10:52 am (UTC)
Re: The Making Of West Side Story
Hmm, a slightly misleading title, then.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


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West Side Story

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