West Side Story Movie Analysis

1081 Words5 Pages
In the book West Side Story as Cinema: The Making and Impact of an American Masterpiece by Ernesto R. Acevedo-Munoz, the author makes an evaluative judgement on the musical West Side Story and details the history of the extensive production and the making of the film and also analyzes the cultural controversy and impact of the film on society. Through the use of primary sources and thoroughly researched claims, the author convincingly demonstrates how the production, presentation, and release redefined the conventions of the classical hollywood musical, and the role of cinema in culture as a way of observing and rehearsing social issues. In the first two chapters of the book, the author provides detailed accounts of the preproduction and…show more content…
One of the claims explored throughout the chapter, and throughout the rest of the book, is the diversion from the classical hollywood musical conventions. The author points out traditional conventions, such as the use of musical song and dance to “bring compromise, relief, or the dissolution of tensions” and how the “conflicts that separate Maria and Tony… are real” and differ from other conflicts in musicals (Acevedo-Munoz, 90). Likewise, the author points out the convention of heterosexual coupling and how, traditionally, the need for this coupling, accompanied with the personality dissolve, allows the ‘problems’ to be resolved (Acevedo-Munoz, 90). However, the author claims that this heterosexual coupling and personality dissolve, as seen in the merging of gang colors worn by Maria and Tony, are not enough to solve the conflict (Acevedo-Munoz, 106). By pointing out the conventions of classical hollywood musicals, the author is able to demonstrate how they are broken in West Side Story through detailed scene-by-scene analysis. The structure of the third paragraph provides merit to other claims as well such as the impact of the “color, editing, cinematography, special effects, and even costume design” (Acevedo-Munoz 128). In the analysis of each scene, the author accounts for how such traits impact the narrative structure of the film, and how they affect the audience as well. For example, the author depicts the lighting and special effects utilized during the sequence in which Tony and Maria first meet at the dance. Here the “oil effect”, lighting effect and “‘not quite real’ representation of an otherwise realistic set” are described and
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