On Books & Reading: Something’s Coming (via Amazon Prime) – ‘West Side Story: The Making of the Steven Spielberg Film’

(C) 2021 Harry N. Abrams (Abrams Books) and 20th Century Studios

Hi there, Dear Reader. It is late morning here in lovely Lithia, Florida on Friday, February 4, 2022. It is a warm winter day in the Tampa Bay area. The warming trend that began yesterday continues. Currently, the temperature is 73˚F (23˚C). With the wind blowing from the south-southeast at 10 MPH (16 KM/H) and humidity at 88%, the feels-like temperature is 71˚F (22˚C). Today’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 86˚F (30˚C). Tonight, we can expect light rain and a low of 62˚F (17˚C).

Since it is unlikely that 20th Century Studios and Buena Vista Home Entertainment will put the home media release of Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story (2021) in the preorder queue this week, I decided to get myself a “consolation prize” and bought a copy of Laurent Bouzerau’s West Side Story: The Making of the Steven Spielberg Film.

(C) 2021 Harry N. Abrams (Abrams Books) and 20th Century Studios

Published by Harry N. Abrams last November – in advance of the film’s December 10, 2021 release – and written by a French-American film historian and behind the scenes documentary director, West Side Story: The Making of the Steven Spielberg Film is a collector’s edition hardcover – aka a “coffee table” type book – which delves into the creative process of remaking a film adaptation of the Jerome Robbins-Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim-Arthur Laurents 1957 Broadway musical drama which can best be described as “Romeo and Juliet set in mid-20th Century Manhattan.”

I wanted to see West Side Story in a theater when it came out. Unfortunately, a combination of unfortunate events, including the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and lack of interest on the part of my two contemporaries (I have a hard time calling The Caregiver and her boyfriend “friends”) about seeing West Side Story with me, prevented me from doing so. And since I sometimes lack patience when it comes to online shopping and whatnot, I was irritated when I saw that The Walt Disney Company has not greenlit the pre-order option for this title’s 4K UHD/Blu-ray or DVD releases.

Luckily for me, Amazon offers this book for $20.14 (the retail price is $40.00), and because these prices are not always forever ones, I decided to get West Side Story: The Making of the Steven Spielberg Film, even though – based on my experience with Bouzerau’s similar book about the first four Indiana Jones films – I am sure that the same material will appear – albeit in a different format – in the behind the scenes featurettes in the home media release of Spielberg’s West Side Story.

Per the publisher:

A sample page from “West Side Story: The Making of the Steven Spielberg Film.” (C) 2021 Harry N. Abrams (Abrams Books) and 20th Century Studios

Featuring never-before-seen unit photography, storyboards, costume and concept designs, and behind-the-scenes photos from Academy Award–winning director Steven Spielberg’s first musical, West Side Story: The Making of the Steven Spielberg Film is a loving chronicle of the years of effort that went into bringing a beloved story back to the screen for a new generation. Author Laurent Bouzereau was embedded with the film’s cast and crew and conducted original interviews with director and producer Steven Spielberg, screenwriter and executive producer Tony Kushner, Tony Award-winning choreographer Justin Peck, and the cast of Sharks and Jets, among many others, to bring together a firsthand oral history documenting every stage of the film’s production.

As relevant today as when it first debuted on Broadway, West Side Story has been reimagined by Spielberg, Kushner, and their cast of young stars, including Ansel Elgort (Tony), Rachel Zegler (María), Ariana DeBose (Anita), and David Alvarez (Bernardo), fully embracing historical accuracy in its vibrant depiction of mid-1950s New York City and the forbid­den love of the teenagers caught between familial allegiances and passion. West Side Story: The Making of the Steven Spielberg Film provides exclusive in-depth commentary on these themes, bringing together a chorus of diverse voices to explore what it means to find a place for yourself in America.

Another sample page from “West Side Story: The Making of the Steven Spielberg Film.” (C) 2021 Harry N. Abrams (Abrams Books) and 20th Century Studios

Amazon moved on this order quickly. I ordered it – almost as an afterthought – yesterday afternoon at five; a couple of hours later it shipped from – of all places – Opa Locka, Florida, which is in my hometown county of Miami-Dade. The U.S. Postal Service zipped it to Ft. Myers, which is on “my” side of Florida. 108.5 miles to the south and about a two-hour drive from here.

According to the order status update on Amazon, my copy of West Side Story: The Making of the Steven Spielberg Film arrived at the company’s facility at 3:55 AM and is expected to arrive here today before 9 PM. From Ft. Myers, I think my package with the book will go to the Amazon distribution center in nearby Seffner and placed on a vehicle for delivery by noon. For all I know, it could already be in Seffner; however, it has not been scanned since 3:55 AM, so I can’t be sure of that.

Other than that, Dear Reader, I don’t have too much news. I paid my monthly rent yesterday, and I spent yet another solitary night in my room, watching documentaries on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video till I fell asleep. Now, I have to go take a shower, change into clean clothes, and get on with my day – such as it is – in lovely Lithia.

So, until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Source: Product page for West Side Story: The Making of the Steven Spielberg Film, Harry N. Abrams, aka Abrams Books

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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