West Side Story

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?

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.

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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: 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.

Myridon

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: During the war council, when Schrute shows up and starts harassing Bernardo, why does Riff look upset? If he hates the Sharks he should be enjoying that. Am I correct to see some hidden meaning, or am I overthinking it?

Answer: You might be overthinking it a bit. It appears to me most of the actors are overacting at being intense.

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Question: While it is generally known that Marni Nixon sang the part of Maria in the movie, I'm fairly sure Russ Tamblyn did not sing Tony's part. Who covered that?

Answer: Some of Tamblyn's vocals were dubbed by actor/singer/dance Tucker Smith, who was also in the original Broadway production of West Side Story. Smith also appeared in the movie version, playing a character named Ice.

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Answer: James Howard Bryant dubbed Tony in the 1961 movie. Bryant said in an interview that Richard Beymer (Tony) always gave him accurate credit, because he was such a nice guy. George Chakiris (Bernardo) was the only one of the main characters (Tony, Maria, Anita, Bernardo, and Riff) whose voice was not dubbed. This was because Nardo didn't have many singing lines, except in the song America.

Question: The Jets and Sharks are supposedly in their 'teens, from broken homes, no jobs, and living in poverty. Where then, did they get the money to buy the fancy clothes they wear to the dance at the gym?

Answer: You're making unnecessary assumptions. They are teens so they live with their parents. Tony works at the drugstore. Maria and Anita work at the bridal shop. The others may have jobs that are not shown. Their parents may provide for them. Even if their parents are poor, the mothers and the girls could make the clothes. They could buy the clothes used, etc. Plus of course they're gang members who presumably are capable of stealing money.

Myridon

Question: After "Gee, Officer Krupke," they're all going into Doc's candy store, and Snowboy is fiddling with something - what is it?

Answer: A small radio.

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)

More mistakes in West Side Story

Tony: Well end your suffering little man. Why don't you pack up your gear and clear out of here?

More quotes from West Side Story

Trivia: "West Side Story" was the first film to win the Best Picture Academy Award for two directors (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins).

More trivia for West Side Story

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