Whenever awards season starts coming at us full throttle it's sometimes hard to remember that what's truly important in life is not who got snubbed at the BFCAs or who might be looking at a 6th place finish in Oscar balloting.
No, no.... What's most important in life is West Side Story and who won The Film Experience's West Side Story Blu-Ray contest. I enjoyed reading your entries so much! Honestly I wish more people had entered so I could keep on reading them. In the end I had to go all eenie meenie minie moe because there's no way I could choose by stories. So many personal memories and so much love for this film.
I wish I had 10 copies to give away. Alas, there can be only two... THE WINNERS ARE...
LEON in Texas who writes:
My West Side Story fandom began a half a lifetime ago. After watching Titanic tying Ben-Hur's record, I became enamored with the Oscars, and made it my goal to watch all of the Best Picture winners, and decided to start with West Side Story, which was the oldest Best Picture winner my parents owned. I had seen the film once when I was two, but my memory of it was incredibly distorted. (My memory told me that the final stirring speech was delivered by the tomboy Anybodys.) I was initially a little bit hesitant about watching the film, because at the time I was not a fan of musicals at all. I had made up my mind that musicals were a drab, unrealistic experience full of boring song and dance numbers.
That notion flew out the window when I finally saw the dazzling Prologue sequence. I was drawn into the finger-snapping music of Leonard Bernstein and the dynamic choreography of Jerome Robbins. The film gripped me in those opening scenes, and never let me go until well after the final somber chords in the credits sequence. I was so blown away that I watched the film again...and again...and again. By the end of the calendar year I had seen the movie 10 times. Even today, it remains my absolute favorite American film.
The other winner is ANDREW in Washington who writes...
In my freshman English course when I was 14, we had spent a few weeks reading and discussing Romeo & Juliet. My English teacher decided to show us West Side Story as a class as a fun way to cap the subject. Many of the kids groaned when they found out it was a musical, but I was ecstatic since I loved musicals and had never seen West Side Story. I only knew the song "I Feel Pretty" was from it.
My best friend and I were in the corner and we absolutely loved it, especially Rita Moreno. Every time she was on screen we were captivated by her, and couldn't breathe during the scene where Anita is nearly raped. We quietly cried together in the corner during the ending and immediately both got the soundtrack when we got home. From then on we spent many times together breaking out into the songs, especially "America" and "Tonight". We still do so to this day! What I think I remember best, was how quiet the class was when it ended. And numerous kids were whispering "That was actually pretty good!", many of the same ones that were dreading having to actually watch a musical! It just goes to show you, that people who stay away from things deemed "uncool" can miss out on so many great things.
The studio tells me your BluRays are in the mail today. Thanks to everyone who entered and who loves West Side Story. Fans of WSS are my kind of people.
More on the 1961 Oscar Winner will come...