Musings & Thoughts for Saturday, February 5, 2022, or: The ‘West Side Story’ Book Has Arrived!


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Hi there, Dear Reader. It’s early afternoon here in Lithia, Florida on Saturday, February 5, 2022. It is a grey and chilly winter day in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 64˚F (18˚C) under cloudy skies. With the wind blowing from the northeast at 9 MPH (14 KM/H) and humidity at 73%, the wind-chill factor is 64˚F (18˚C). Today’s forecast calls for cloudy skies and a high of 66˚F (19˚C). Tonight, we can expect scattered rain showers. The low will be 56˚F (13˚C).

My copy of West Side Story: The Making of the Steven Spielberg Film arrived sometime after 12 PM Eastern Standard Time. The mail delivery person came by, placed most of today’s mail in the mailbox out front, and left the Amazon package on the porch. It was too big and bulky to fit in a standard mailbox, so the box with the book was left in the usual place where Amazon packages go.

Happily, West Side Story: The Making of the Steven Spielberg Film by Laurent Bouzerau is one of those nice coffee table hardcovers that don’t have dust jackets but instead have the cover art printed on the covers directly. I love dust jacket art, but I despair when the jacket itself starts to rip or gets dogeared after a while.

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

West Side Story: The Making of the Steven Spielberg Film was lovingly designed by publisher Harry N. Abrams’ Chad W. Beckerman and edited by Connor Leonard. It is a lavishly illustrated book; the text by Bouzerau is complemented by a cornucopia of still photos, storyboards, and design sketches that depict every stage of the making of Steven Spielberg’s first musical.

As the back cover blurb states:

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.

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

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.

I have not had the time to read much from West Side Story: The Making of the Steven Spielberg Film; heck, I just got it. But from what I’ve seen so far, I am happy that I bought it, and for less than its MSRP of $40.00.

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

As for its “late arrival” – it was supposed to arrive yesterday afternoon – I am not upset about that at all, I am surprised it did not arrive later than today, considering that I ordered it late on Thursday.

As for the movie itself – or rather, its home media release on 4K UHD/2K Blu-ray – I have not checked today if it is available for pre-order. I checked in the websites for Amazon, Best Buy, and ShopDisney.com last night and West Side Story (2021) was not even in the product listings in the Movies and TV category.

Why? I have no idea. Disney-owned 20th Century Studios wants to wait till West Side Story leaves every theater that is still screening it, or Amazon – which The Walt Disney Company is feuding with over the E-retailer’s pricing policies – won’t get a bite at the distribution apple till close to the home media “drop date” of March 15. If so, I can understand the non-availability of online preorders on Amazon. But Best Buy? And ShopDisney.com? I don’t get it.

I’ll check whether the recent version of West Side Story is available for preorder later, but I’m not confident that it will be.

 I don’t have anything else to share, at least nothing interesting, so I’ll just wrap this post up here. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

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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