History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill

24 June, 2012

When You're a Jet

Photographs of West Side Story, today-- but not film stills, rather a set taken by photographer Gjon Mili at filming of the movie, during the opening and rumble scenes. So we have different views, different compositions, and some different shots entirely, all by a master photographer. 

From the LIFE archives, 1960 (the tag is 40s/50s because the original musical premièred in 1957). 



Riff leads the Jets in a dance down a New York street. Source






The Sharks (with Jets close behind). Source







Choreographed confrontation. Source



Mocking courtesy from the Jets to a Shark. Source






JETS. Source



SHARKS. Source






Using garbage as missiles. Source



The Jets interrupt a Sharks card game. Source




Sharks pour paint on a pair of Jets.  Source



A gang confrontation. Source



Bernardo, head Shark, threatens Riff, head Jet, with a knife at the rumble. Source



The leaders circle each other with knives. Source



Gangs watch the fight under the overpass. Source



The gangs fight after their leaders are killed (er, spoiler). Source






The gangs flee the scene at the sound of the police. Source



Tony (Romeo) cries out over the bodies of his best friend Riff and girlfriend's brother Bernardo. Source



Then Tony, too, escapes the scene. Source



A portrait of Jet leader Riff (played by Russ Tamblyn). Source



A portrait of romantic hero Tony (played by Richard Beymer). Source



A portrait of Shark leader Bernardo (played by George Chakiris). Source

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