Cinema: Sweetness & Blight

West Side Story (Mirisch: United Artists), when it opened on Broadway in 1957, was greeted as "a major achievement of the American musical theater," a successful attempt to create a new theatrical form: a musical play in which the element of dance mattered more perhaps than either the music or the play—a choreoperetta. Now, with the help of full color, stereophonic sound, and a wider-than-widescreen process called Panavision 70, the play has been transformed into a supercolossal $5,000,000 cinemusical. Unhappily, the film shares a serious flaw in the essential conception of the show; both are founded on a phony literary analogy...

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