Continuity mistake: When Maria is hitting Tony while saying "Killer," her hair is across her left cheek. In the next shot, it is completely away from her face. (01:48:20)
West Side Story (1961)
Directed by: Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins
Starring: Natalie Wood, Russ Tamblyn, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris
Audio problem: During the opening overture, right when the orchestra starts "Maria", you can hear someone sneeze in the background. It's easier to hear on the soundtrack but you still can hear it in the movie.
Other mistake: During "Cool," there's a shot where they're doing a sort of knee turn, and you can see Tucker Smith in the background spinning too many times (you can see him start to stick out his arms to stop himself). (01:58:20)
Trivia: "West Side Story" was the first film to win the Best Picture Academy Award for two directors (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins).
Trivia: Rita Mareno was unable to hit the low notes in the song "A Boy Like That"; the entire song had to be dubbed. Natalie Wood was not told that all of her songs were going to be dubbed until after filming was completed; she went through the production thinking it would be her voice used in the songs when the film was released. Dubbing the songs after filming was completed posed an unusual problem. Normally when a song is dubbed, they play it during filming so that the actors can mouth the words so that they match the lyrics. The songs in West Side Story were dubbed after filming was completed, so it was the singers who were brought in that had to match their lyrics to the actors mouthing the words (from the documentary "West Side Memories", 2009).
Trivia: Rita Moreno was reduced to tears when she was nearly raped by the Jets(although it was only acting) when it brought back memories of her being raped as a child. When she started crying the cast immediatly stopped and tried to comfort her.
Maria: All of you! You all killed him! And my brother, and Riff. Not with bullets, or guns, with hate. Well now I can kill, too, because now I have hate.
Riff: Boy, am I a victim of disappointment in you.
Doc: Why do you kids live like there's a war on?
Question: Why did they use actors who couldn't sing in the leading roles? Wouldn't it be easier to cast people who could sing instead of dubbing with other singing voices?
Answer: Natalie Wood was more well-known. And Wood actually COULD sing, she just couldn't hit the high notes perfectly. In fact, she was told only some of her singing would be dubbed.
Question: In the original musical of West Side Story, the song "Officer Krupke" is sung some time after the rumble when Riff was killed. Why was it changed to before the rumble?
Answer: Actually there were a number of changes made in the movie adaptation compared to the original stage version. There were cuts, new additions, and changes to music, lyrics, dialogue, and characters. A few of the musical numbers were switched around because it was felt the storyline flowed better on screen, for different reasons. Some examples are "Gee, Officer Krupke" and "I Feel Pretty" which are cheerful, light-hearted songs and were moved to before "The Rumble", and "Cool" was moved to after "The Rumble" which gives that song's lyrics gravitas.
Question: During the war council when Krupke shows up, how does he know where the gangs were? They didn't have cars, so how did he track them down?
Answer: Officer Krupke and his partner pulled up in the squad car in front of Doc's earlier that night and asked the Jets why they were all there blocking the sidewalk, then mentioned that he knew they were cooking up something at the dance, and warned that he's coming back. Later, during the war council it's Lieutenant Schrank who shows up at Doc's. So how did Schrank know to show up there? Krupke could've told Schrank something may be going on at Doc's involving the two gangs.
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Answer: People would not come to the theater to see Marnie Nixon despite the fact that she has sung the lead roles in West Side Story, The King and I, and My Fair Lady. They'd rather see that darling girl from "Miracle on 34th Street" again (or Deborah Kerr or Audrey Hepburn) than an unknown with actual talent.