Sunday, February 7th, dawned sunny, clear and relatively warm...a perfect day for a drive for what turned out to be an enjoyable afternoon. I left home at roughly 11:30 that morning, in order to stop for gas enroute, and then drove up to Lowell. I arrived in plenty of time, parked in the huge garage not too far from the movie theatre, and then had some lunch at a good Irish-Mexican restaurant in the general vicinity.
The waitress was quite pleasant, and yet, I felt a little sorry for her, because the restaurant was short-staffed, and she was the only one holding the fort, so to speak. But she kept on.
The movie theatre was a short distance from everything, and it was in a building called mill #5. I noticed the #5 sign from a distance, walked towards it, and then walked through some iron gates through a small, darkish underpass, to the elevator at the end, which I took to the fourth floor, and went straight ahead, through all the shops and whatnot. At the end of the dimly-lit but crowded hallway, the lit-up sign for the Luna Theatre stood out.
The Luna Theatre is sort of a hidden gem, so one has to sort of work to get there, if one gets the drift. It was a relatively small theatre, with seats that were clearly seats from trucks, with tables attached to each one of them for snacks, etc. Although the afternoon showing of the film West Side Story didn't sell out, there was a good crowd, nonetheless, and it was well attended.
The film version of West Side Story that was shown at Lowell's Luna theatre was absolutely pristine, and the soundtrack to the movie was in wonderful shape, as well. Everybody in the audience seemed to enjoy the film. The film version of West Side Story has many funny parts, as well as parts that are sad, and/or intense. I did find myself tearing up during the part, after the Rumble, when the two gang leaders, Riff and Bernardo, were both killed in the knife fight that ultimately ensued, mainly afterwards, when Anita (who was grieving over the death of Bernardo), and Maria, who proclaimed her strong love for Tony (after Anita had initially become very angry with Maria for having allowed Tony to approach her to begin with, and then forgave her), begin singing the song "I have a Love.", while the tears were streaming down Anita's face. That was one of the many tender moments in this film, as well. When Baby-John, the youngest and least mature of the Jets, is moved to tears by the killings and is comforted by his buddy, A-Rab, that, too was a very tender, moving moment.
The part where Tony says to Riff, after he'd been haranguing Tony to go to the dance that night, "End your suffering', little man. Why don't you just pack up your gear and move out?", and when Riff replies "Cause your ma's hot for me." was a very funny part of this film. So was the part when Riff says "No...cause I hate livin' with my bugging' uncle (tony: "c'mon!" ) uncle (tony: c'mon!") UNCLE!" , as Tony twists Riff's arm.
Another funny part of the film West Side Story is when Anita and Maria are in the Bridal Shop, Maria is pestering Anita to lower the neck of the white communion dress that she'd been fixing for Maria to wear to the dance that night, and Maria tries to distract her by talking about other things:
Maria: What happens when you look at Bernardo in the movies?"
Anita: It's when I don't look that it happens."
So, West Side Story is a great example of how various emotions can be expressed through dance, and of a movie that has not had to rely on expensive gadgets/equipment to obtain special affects, and doesn't rely on constant exploding on the screen, in order to get the desired results.
The beautiful photography and colored costumes, cinematography, the cast, and the stellar music, as well as the very story behind West Side Story have all been combined to make this great classic film the dynamic little package that it is. West Side Story is a film that I never get tired of seeing over and over again, plus I always notice at least one or two things in this film that I didn't notice before. While I've seen several stage productions of West Side Story that I've liked a great deal, I'm a devout fan of the film. I did see the up-to-date revised Broadway stage production of WSS, almost 5 years ago, which, although I largely enjoyed, due to West Side Story being West Side Story, I viewed this particular revival with a somewhat harder, more critical eye.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand: It had been a wonderful afternoon, and it was well worth the 45 minute drive north to take in yet another screening of my all time favorite film.
(I'll also add that I'm no stranger to driving longer distances to see the film West Side Story, since I've driven to NYC, Albany, NY, Dartmouth, NH, Pittsfield, MA, and Providence, RI, in addition to seeing WSS in closer areas, as well.