As we all know, the 1961 film version of West Side Story is a hauntingly beautiful, emotional, violent, sad, exuberant, gentle and kindly, at the same time. I have admittedly lost count of how many times I've seen this great, golden oldie-but-keeper of a classic movie-musical, but it still tugs at my heartstrings as much today, as it has done, in both the distant and not-so-distant past....
That is exactly why, every time the film West Side Story is playing in my general area, or within a reasonable distance from where I live (meaning within driving distance!), I drive to a different part of the Bay State, or even to a neighboring state, just to see it on a large movie theatre screen. Sometimes driving such distances requires me to spend the night in a nearby hotel and then drive back the next morning, and other times not.
There's a movie theatre up in Lowell, MA, called the Luna Theatre, which is roughly 3/4 of an hour north of Boston, that, so far, has played the 1961 film version of West Side Story every year. This particular theatre is located on the 4th floor of what used to be a large mill in Lowell, MA. (which was once a mill town, but is changing). It's a relatively small movie theatre, with comfortable seats, and a reasonably-sized movie screen. The Luna Theatre is nice and clean, and comfortable, and the staff people are quite friendly and helpful, also.
Yesterday was one of those days that I did drive up to see West Side Story. I normally attend the afternoon showing, at 2:05 p. m., but I had something else going, so I ended up attending the 8:05 p. m. showing of West Side Story, instead. As always, they showed a very pristine print of the film West Side Story. Driving up in the evening, when it was busy, especially due to the Super Bowl game, traffic wise, was new to me. Using the Waze app on my smart phone helped a great deal.
Due to the Super Bowl football game being on TV, only about five people, including myself, showed up for the 8:05 p. m. screening of the film West Side Story. Yet, because of the Super Bowl, they didn't do that well on any of the three shows. It was worth going, because I got to share my love for the film West Side Story with some friendly people. The price was reasonable, and we all enjoyed the film. A young couple, who'd never seen it before, said that it was really good, and that they enjoyed it, a great deal.
Since I always notice something in subsequent viewings of the film West Side Story that I didn't notice in the previous screening viewing, especially at the very beginning, last night, I noticed that there were two men who looked to be young middle-aged, each with a shovel in their hand, and a couple of kids sitting on the steps of the long-since torn down rectory on what used to be a rough-tough version of New York City's now-gentrified Upper West Side.
Tony and Maria's romance seems more and more credible to me, as well, every time I view the film West Side Story. The fact that West Side Story often vacillates between light and dark, uses passionate colors, especially reds, blues and purples exceptionally well, and has a dynamite combination of everything (i. e. action, romance, sadness, violence, death, wise-cracker, conflict with the law, gentleness, roughness, and at least an attempt at, or the hint of a possible truce after the deaths of Riff, Bernardo and Tony. Anybodys, the tomboy and the Jets-wannabe, as well as the other characters, seem more and more credible to me, also. I don't know why that is, but it's so.
I believe that she, Russ Tamblyn (who plays Riff), and Tucker Smith, who plays Ice, also should've won Academy Awards. George Chakiris, who plays Bernardo, and Rita Moreno, who plays Anita, both did win Academy Awards for their stellar performances as Bernardo and his girlfriend, Anita, and they should have. Rita Moreno, who clearly wanted the part of Anita in the film West Side Story, worked her butt off in order to audition for her part, and it paid off; Rita Moreno won the part of Anita, which she played with aplomb. All told, after having a neighbor and her young daughter over the the afternoon, I cleaned up and drove up to Lowell, MA, for the film. I made it safely up to Lowell, MA, and back. It was an enjoyable day for me.