QUIZ: How dateable would you be in the 14th century? The stage book was rewritten and adapted for the screen by Ernest Lehman, and romeo and juliet essay film retained the beautiful and electrifying musical score, songs and lyrics of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.
It was co-directed by two clashing individuals from the start — veteran director Robert Wise and exciting choreographer Jerome Robbins. The singing of both leads was dubbed: Jimmy Bryant for former child actor Richard Beymer, and Marni Nixon for Natalie Wood, and the vocals by Rita Moreno were enhanced by Betty Wand for «A Boy Like That». The much-praised, box-office blockbuster for United Artists received eleven Academy Award nominations and won all but one — Best Adapted Screenplay. In the famous, dazzling opening sequence, they gradually break into a highly-stylized dance and then burst into a daring, high-stepping sequence — an exhilarating, inventive, visual ballet of pirouettes, vigorous athletic moves, and running jumps that symbolizes their dominance and energy — they are readying themselves for a gang brawl. He is joined by his gang members, and they pick up the beat by clicking their fingers. The gangs both are vying for control of the streets, alternating between dominance and submission. Schrank: You hoodlums don’t own these streets.
And I’ve had all the rough-house I can put up with around here. You want to kill each other? Kill each other, but you ain’t gonna do it on my beat. Would you mind translating that into Spanish? Schrank: Get your friends out of here, Bernardo — and stay out — please. Schrank: Boy, as if this neighborhood wasn’t crummy enough. If I don’t get a little law and order around here, I get busted down to a traffic corner.
And your friend don’t like traffic corners. So that means you’re gonna start makin’ nice with the PRs from now on. I said nice — GET IT! Riff speaks to his gang members and arouses their immature gang mentality. He directs his hatred toward the Puerto Ricans and their turf-encroachment. Convinced of the Jets’ own strength and invincibility, he is adamant about checking the Sharks’ expansion and influence in the neighborhood while still avoiding a life-threatening rumble with blades or zip guns. The Hawks, remember, they tried to take it away, and we knocked ’em down to the cellar.
Members: Yeah, but these PRs are different. Riff: Hey, you heard what that Lieutenant Schrank said, eh? We gotta make nice with ’em Puerto Ricans or else. We gotta let ’em move in right under our noses and take it all away from us, or else. So what are we gonna do buddy-boys? I’ll tell ya what we’re gonna do. And we’re gonna clean them Sharks up once and for all so they ain’t never gonna set foot on our turf again.
They might ask for blades, zip gunsI say this turf is small, but it’s all we got, huh? Riff proposes getting help from Tony, a young Polish boy and ex-leader of the Jets who has grown away from them and taken a respectable job: «We need Tony. Tony could serve as the Jets’ lieutenant for the impending showdown. From your first cigarette to your last dyin’ day! You’ve got brothers around, you’re a family man! Riff: Now I know Tony like I know me and I guarantee you can count him in. Baby John: It ain’t safe to go and be in our territory.
Riff: He’ll be at the dance tonight at the gym. Yeah, but the gym’s neutral territory. I’m gonna make nice with him! Riff: So listen, everybody dress up sweet and sharp. Meet Tony and me at the dance at ten. You’re a gold medal kid with the heavyweight crown!