Spielberg's WEST SIDE STORY is NOT a remake

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#51
Posted: 7/17/19 at 8:40pm

AADA81 said: "rattleNwoolypenguin said: "
I really will never understand people including Sondheim who hate on the film. The film is so effective emotionally. The surreal poetic nature of West Side Story comes through.

As well as the switching of Krupke and Cool is ingenious tonally.

Cool in the film feels like this trippy reaction they all have to this traumatizing event they’ve just witnessed.

likewise Krupke as a comedic relief to the dark turn the story takes has never worked for me.
"

And Sondheim has said it was his suggestion to switch Krupke and Cool to maintain the film's tension post-Rumble. I just think he isn'tas objective as he could be about the film's merits.
"

I have never seen Sondheim say it was his suggestion to make that switch - it most assuredly was not - it was screenwriter Ernest Lehman's idea completely.  He was a great screenwriter and in the case of West Side, a great screen adapter (same with The Sound of Music).

 

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#52
Posted: 7/21/19 at 3:36pm

Seems like the male Sharks will be part of America!

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#53
Posted: 7/21/19 at 3:55pm

I believe Sondheim has said that he originally wanted Krupke and Cool to be placed as they are in the film, but he was the only one of the original creators who felt that way and he came around to seeing things as they did.  I imagine that the current film will restore the original order.  Does anyone know for sure if this is so?

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#54
Posted: 7/21/19 at 4:58pm

In addition to the order of "Cool" and "Krupke" I wonder where "I Feel Pretty" will be placed, whether it's post-Rumble as it is on stage, or pre-Rumble the way it was in the first film.

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The Other One
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#55
Posted: 7/21/19 at 6:01pm

AEA AGMA SM said: "In addition to the order of "Cool" and "Krupke" I wonder where "I Feel Pretty" will be placed, whether it's post-Rumble as it is on stage, or pre-Rumble the way it was in the first film."

Interesting that you would ask that.  Ernest Lehman always seemed much prouder of that change than of the Cool/Krupke swap.  He thought audiences would never sit through Maria singing and dancing for a solid five minutes after the rumble, knowing what she was about to learn.  Personally, I prefer the film's placement of Cool and Krupke but think either placement works.  I Feel Pretty works much better as placed by Lehman.  If it is sung after the rumble in the new film, I hope Chino interrupts them faster than he does in the stage version.

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#56
Posted: 7/21/19 at 7:18pm

The Other One said: "I believe Sondheim has said that he originally wanted Krupke and Cool to be placed as they are in the film, but he was the only one of the original creators who felt that way and he came around to seeing things as they did. I imagine that the current film will restore the original order. Does anyone know for sure if this is so?"

I answered this question two posts above yours - did you not read it?  I have neither heard nor read anything about Sondheim thinking the placement of those two songs in the stage version should be anything other than how they were placed.  Whereas I knew Ernest Lehman and that idea was solely his for the film version.

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#57
Posted: 7/21/19 at 7:37pm

Sondheim states in Finishing the Hat that he wanted to switch those musical numbers and Robbins finally relented to try it for a preview performance. Because of the sets, it proved impossible and it was never performed like that in front of an audience. Sondheim was excited when the film used his idea, but later disavowed it, stating that the original was less realistic, but worked in a way that the film placement didn't.

You seem to know more about Lehman's directorial work on the film more than I, but I wouldn't be surprised if Sondheim had discussed the switch with him during production.

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#58
Posted: 7/21/19 at 7:38pm

bk said: "The Other One said: "I believe Sondheim has said that he originally wanted Krupke and Cool to be placed as they are in the film, but he was the only one of the original creators who felt that way and he came around to seeing things as they did. I imagine that the current film will restore the original order. Does anyone know for sure if this is so?"

I answered this question two posts above yours - did you not read it? I have neither heard nor read anything about Sondheim thinking the placement of those two songs in the stage version should be anything other than how they were placed. Whereas I knew Ernest Lehman and that idea was solely his for the film version.
"

bk, in the documentary, "There's A Place For Us": West Side Story's Legacy" featured on the film's 50th anniversary blu-ray release there is an interview with Sondheim. He clearly stated in this documentary that he urged Laurents to juxtapose the "Krupke" and "Cool" numbers when the stage show was being put together...to no avail. He then goes on to state that when the film was being made Jerry Robbins told him of the news of the juxtapositions of those two numbers by saying, "You got your wish"....

 

Updated On: 7/21/19 at 07:38 PM
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#59
Posted: 7/21/19 at 7:42pm

He states it, but the way they cut into the exact phrase and then away from him makes me wonder if they took the comment out of context. Of course the film is right and the original script is wrong. The movie is really underrated, IMO. No, it isn't what the original Broadway production could be. But it still works, still generates a fan base, whereas no one seems to care for most of the revivals that have occurred (and I think Sondheim is right here that revivals don't work because for a show to have longevity it needs characters, and by design WSS has none--it only has its concept).

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#60
Posted: 7/21/19 at 11:13pm
i agree with Spielberg that the original film isn’t very good. there’s no bite. wtf was with that “birth to earth” rewrite? i agree that it’s not a remake of the film but a new adaptation
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#61
Posted: 7/21/19 at 11:18pm

"Burst to earth," I think. "Sperm to worm" would never have flown past the censors. 

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#62
Posted: 7/22/19 at 12:10am

It's not a remake of the first film but the Sharks are in "America" again? Okay.

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#63
Posted: 7/22/19 at 12:33am
bk
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#64
Posted: 7/22/19 at 4:13am

Sally Durant Plummer said: "Sondheim states inFinishing the Hatthat he wanted to switch those musical numbers and Robbins finally relented to try it for a preview performance. Because of the sets, it proved impossible and it was never performed like that in front of an audience. Sondheim was excited when the film used his idea, but later disavowed it, stating that the original was less realistic, but worked in a way that the film placement didn't.

You seem to know more about Lehman's directorial work on the film more than I, but I wouldn't be surprised if Sondheim had discussed the switch with him during production.
"

No, it was Lehman's idea.  He was the writer, not the director.  If Sondheim states that in the documentary, well, I'd have to watch it, but he never said anything to Mr. Lehman about it ever.  

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Spielberg's West Side Story IS a Remake!!!#65
Posted: 7/22/19 at 4:32am

This is a REMAKE of "West Side Story" the play AND the film adapted from it in 1961. Those who are scrambling to explain it away are fooling no one...only themselves. The inclusion of the Sharks in the "America" number proves that. 

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Updated On: 7/22/19 at 04:32 AM
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Spielberg's West Side Story IS a Remake!!!#66
Posted: 7/22/19 at 4:36am

So from the looks of it "America" is now a big giant block party that includes not only the Sharks and their girls but the whole entire neighborhood a la "Carnaval del Barrio" from "In The Heights". Aaaaalll-righty then....

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Spielberg's West Side Story IS a Remake!!!#67
Posted: 7/22/19 at 8:54am

bk said: "No, it was Lehman's idea. He was the writer, not the director. If Sondheim states that in the documentary, well, I'd have to watch it, but he never said anything to Mr. Lehman about it ever."

I take the first part of what you say as a guess based on your impression of his role (BTW it is not unheard if for a director to have an idea), but unless you were party to every conversation between the two of them, you have no discernible basis for saying the latter. (BTW it is not unheard of for a person to claim something was there idea when it wasn't. (We have lawsuits about things like this.))

On another front, I am not sure I get where this brouhaha over sourcing is coming from. There is nothing I see inconsistent about adapting the original source and including an idea you like from a secondary source that was adapted from the original. Ideas are commodities to writers and directors, and both steal ideas as part and parcel of their process. The only issue is when they steal something they don't have the right to steal. And PS no one has to go see any show or film if they don't want to. There is no rule of completeness in the theatre.

 

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Spielberg's West Side Story IS a Remake!!!#68
Posted: 7/22/19 at 9:54am

Hogan, I so agree with what you write above. It’s a new cinematic adaptation of WEST SIDE STORY. People can assign their own baggage to specific words like "remake” or “"reboot" just as they can assign ideas of legitimacy by claiming it’s based solely on the original 1957 play. But these are all just quantified. Why do we care if Spielberg includes certain ideas from the previous film? Why wouldn’t he?

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Updated On: 7/22/19 at 09:54 AM
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Spielberg's West Side Story IS a Remake!!!#69
Posted: 7/22/19 at 10:11am

CarlosAlberto said: "So from the looks of it "America" is now a big giant block party that includes not only the Sharks and their girls but the whole entire neighborhood a la "Carnaval del Barrio" from "In The Heights". Aaaaalll-righty then...."

A number of my friends have had their apartment buildings on Saint Nicholas Ave used and given a story-appropriate makeover for this sequence over the weekend, so I've been seeing a lot of photos show up on Instagram. One picture seemed to show what looked like some kind of protest or demonstration as being part of the scene. Folks with signs in Spanish, etc. The photos weren't clear enough to really make out much of the text, and I'm not sure what event or political movement these would be referencing- though, given Kushner's involvement, I wouldn't be surprised if some more overt political element were added to this adaptation. 

Edit: The first Puerto Rican Day was in 1958, so maybe that is what is occurring in the film...? 

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Updated On: 7/22/19 at 10:11 AM
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Spielberg's West Side Story IS a Remake!!!#70
Posted: 7/22/19 at 10:19am

Good or bad I hope Mr. Spielberg will resist the temptation to use CGI  to improve the dancing and  auto-tune 2.0 to improve the vocals.

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Spielberg's West Side Story IS a Remake!!!#71
Posted: 7/22/19 at 10:56am

Forgive my ignorance, but why are folks like BrodyFosse123 so upset by the Sharks being in the "America" sequence?

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Spielberg's West Side Story IS a Remake!!!#72
Posted: 7/22/19 at 1:44pm

Ado Annie D'Ysquith said: "Forgive my ignorance, but why are folks like BrodyFosse123 so upset by the Sharks being in the "America" sequence?"

Because the heat has gone to a lot of people's heads?

I never have a problem with someone reaching conclusions without having seen a show. It informs the quality of the opinion. 

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Spielberg's West Side Story IS a Remake!!!#73
Posted: 7/22/19 at 1:57pm

Ado Annie D'Ysquith said: "Forgive my ignorance, but why are folks like BrodyFosse123 so upset by the Sharks being in the "America" sequence?"

Not sure which conversation you're referencing, the one about Puerto Rico vs. America or the one about only the girls performing the song vs. the boys being involved in it, too.

As for the former: 

Technically Puerto Rico became an American colony in 1898, and the US has granted citizenship to Puerto Ricans since 1917, at which time, the right to citizenship was extended backwards to anyone born on or after April 25, 1898.

So Puerto Ricans are Americans, and have been since long before West Side Story was written. 

Now, frankly, I think this is a PC quibble. Life in Puerto Rico would have been nothing like life in the US at the time, and it's doubtful that first generation Puerto Ricans who moved to the US in the 1950's felt much connection to or acceptance in the U.S. 

As for the latter:

This was a change for the movie that apparently is honored in some (many? most?) revivals. Purists think the show should be performed as the show was written, not altered to replicate the movie. I sort of understand that (I don't care for stage productions of The Sound of Music that remove/interpolate songs  or alter song spots based on where they fall in the film). But in this case,  I think it's an improvement because the motivation for the song in the play is for some dumb girl to want to go home and Anita  to mock her for it, the other girls falling into one camp or the other. Who cares? It's a non-issue because the reason for the conflict is trivial. 

But in the movie, the men attack American culture because of their reduced status in the States, while the girl's defend it because they have more freedom than they've ever had before. It's just a more interesting conflict.

Also, for me, Sondheim's revised lyrics are simply superior to those originally used on Broadway. 

Updated On: 7/22/19 at 01:57 PM
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Spielberg's West Side Story IS a Remake!!!#74
Posted: 7/22/19 at 11:01pm

HogansHero said: "bk said: "No, it was Lehman's idea. He was the writer, not the director. If Sondheim states that in the documentary, well, I'd have to watch it, but he never said anything to Mr. Lehman about it ever."

I take the first part of what you say as a guess based on your impression of his role (BTW it is not unheard if for a director to have an idea), but unless you were party to every conversation between the two of them, you have no discernible basis for saying the latter. (BTWit is not unheard of for a person to claim something was there idea when it wasn't. (We have lawsuits about things like this.))

On another front, I am not sure I get where this brouhaha over sourcing is coming from. There is nothing I see inconsistent about adapting the original source and including an idea you like from a secondary source that was adapted from the original. Ideas are commodities to writers and directors, and both steal ideas as part and parcel of their process. The only issue is when they steal something they don't have the right to steal. And PS no one has to go see any show or film if they don't want to. There is no rule of completeness in the theatre.


"

You're being a little obtuse here, but then again you're ryhog.  So, let me try to understand: Nothing I say is a guess.  I don't know what "it is not unheard of for a director to have an idea" is about?  Can you tell me what that is in response to?  I said it was Mr. Lehman's idea (the SCREEN writer/adapter), to reposition those two songs.  That's not a guess, he told me.  Is he making it up?  I don't think so.  So, what does a "director" have to do with my comment/statement?  And who is the rest of your screed addressed to?  Certainly not me, since I have made the point you responded to and not much else.  And if the latter part of your screed was about this thread in general, don't make it part of a response to me.  

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Spielberg's West Side Story IS a Remake!!!#75
Posted: 7/23/19 at 12:00am

bk said: "You're being a little obtuse here, but then again you're ryhog. So, let me try to understand: Nothing I say is a guess. I don't know what "it is not unheard of for a director to have an idea" is about? Can you tell me what that is in response to? I said it was Mr. Lehman's idea (the SCREEN writer/adapter), to reposition those two songs. That's not a guess, he told me. Is he making it up? I don't think so. So, what does a "director" have to do with my comment/statement? And who is the rest of your screed addressed to? Certainly not me, since I have made the point you responded to and not much else. And if the latter part of your screed was about this thread in general, don't make it part of a response to me."

Obtuse? Not something I am used to hearing about myself but if it works for you, run with it. 

I'll try to break my "obtusity" down for you. 

You said: "No, it was Lehman's idea. He was the writer, not the director." 

I took that to mean that you surmised that, because he was the writer and not the director, there was an inference you were prepared to draw. (Note that, in the original quote, there was no suggestion that "he told me."Spielberg's West Side Story IS a Remake!!! Had you been more precise originally, I would not have surmised you were intuiting your statement. (I don't have an opinion on whether he made it up, although as I said it's not unheard of.)

What "director" has to do with your statement is that you used the word. (See the quote in paragraph 3 of this response.)

The remainder of what I wrote was not directed to you. (The opening phrase," On another front," kinda alerted everyone of that.) Maybe people who live in glass houses should not throw "obtuse" around.  {And regarding your little territorial hissy fit about what I can and cannot "make a part of a response to" you, perhaps I am being obtuse but I missed when you were appointed the arbiter of the "rules" here.}

Finally, although you conveniently did not return to the point (for perhaps too obvious reasons) let me remind you that your Sondheim comment (pretty well blown out of the water by others) leaves you in the position of asking someone to take your anonymous word for something over his public words on the subject. Everyone can make up their own mind about that one. 

Updated On: 7/23/19 at 12:00 AM