70mm! Premiere of New Restored Soundtrack! “West Side Story”

posted by Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on November 17, 2010 at 7:55 am

HOLLYWOOD, CA — “West Side Story” winner of 10 Oscars including Best Picture
70mm, Filmed in Panavision 70, Technicolor
Thursday, November 18, 7:30 PM
Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, California

After years of searching and restoration efforts, the full original 6-track mag masters have been recovered and restored, bringing back the glory of this magnificent sound mix, which has not been heard with prints since the early 1970s. Hear the long-awaited “re-premire” of this complete original soundtrack.

Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois

Theaters in this post

Comments (22)

raysson on November 17, 2010 at 8:56 am

Just in time for its 50th Anniversary in 2011. One of the top ten greatest movie musicals ever made and was a huge boxoffice hit when it came out back in 1961.

Question: Two of its original stars Russ Tamblyn and Rita Moreno are still around? I know Natalie Wood is no longer with us.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on November 17, 2010 at 11:52 am

If anyone is going to this show, please post about it here. Thanks!

I only hope this print finds its way to New York City real soon (at the Ziegfeld, of course.)

raysson on November 17, 2010 at 11:58 am


United Artists re-released WEST SIDE STORY numerous times during the early 1970’s. The last time it was shown theatrically in re-released was back in either 1972, 1973 or 1975.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on November 17, 2010 at 12:11 pm

There was a really wide re-release in late 1968. The ad slogan was, “Unlike other classics, West Side Story grows younger”.

1posterfan4sure on November 17, 2010 at 12:12 pm

“WSS” was reissued in the fall of 1968, perhaps the first since the original release. I worked at a theater than ran it for several weeks. It was chopped a bit for that release. I think it may have had an overture that was cut, and the end credits were definitely dumped. The curtains closed with the shot of the cast standing on the basketball court. It didn’t even say “The End.” Too bad because that long Saul Bass credit sequence would have been a perfect opportunity for the women in the audience to dry their eyes. Never have I seen such weeping at the end of a movie! Although the theater had 70mm capability, the print was 35mm Panavision. The musical numbers were in stereo, but the dialog parts were not. Nice to see it have a proper reissue.

Nunzienick on November 17, 2010 at 12:54 pm

How I would love to see this restored 70mm version of one of my all-time favorites which I’ve seen more than a dozen times. The most recent local theatrical showing was in 2004. As part of the celebration of Tampa Theatre’s brand new digital marquee, the theatre featured a free showing of “West Side Story” that evening. The uncut 35mm archival print presented was a beauty from the opening overture to the credit fade-out. No scratches, splices, or cuts. The soundtrack was in Dolby Stereo as I recall.

GaryParks on November 17, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I saw this as part of a classic movies series in 1990 at the Oakland Paramount. Was a wide image—probably the Panavision version, but I clearly remember it having the long, intact overture, with the abstracted lines which ultimately turn into a shot of New York buildings. Last year, the California Theatre in San Jose ran it, but I came in several minutes into the film because I was out in the lobby doing a book signing. I heard lots of music wafting into the lobby from the auditorium (faintly—it’s a very long lobby)before I actually went it, so probably the overture was intact in that print. Since that showing was partly put on by the Packard Humanities Institute, which did much to restore that theatre and presents classics there fairly often…I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d secured an intact print.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on November 17, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Wow John – it’s terrible how they removed all traces of Saul Bass from the movie. Everything Bass did was memorable, but I have a special fondness for the work he did on West Side Story.

ChasSmith on November 17, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Good God, those Bass end titles are a movie unto themselves. I’m always riveted by them.

JodarMovieFan on November 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I happened to stumble on this article several months ago about the restoration efforts of WSS with the newly found original soundtrack. Here is the link: http://www.in70mm.com/news/2010/wss/index.htm

JohnRice on November 17, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Wow! Hard to believe United Artists would cut that end title sequence off of that reissue especially since there are no credits at the beginning of the film at all. I’ve known of a few lazy projectionists who cut end credits off of the last showing or only showing of the evening just so they could go home (or hit the bars?) early even though that’s a violation of the contract between the film companies and the theatres I believe.

That reminds me of the time I saw “Around the World in 80 Days” (35mm version) at an Army post theatre at Camp Kaiser, Korea in 1960 (wow a half century ago this year!). That film of course had another great and long (8-9 minutes) Saul Bass end title sequence, made even more enjoyable by a reprise of Victor Young’s great musical score which I loved. The civilian Korean projectionist let the titles (actually the entire last reel of the feature) run about a minute and then closed the dowser, stopped the projector and turned on the house lights, I was furious and went up and complained to the theatre manager, a grouchy old Army sergeant who told me just shut up and get the Hell out of there. Ah the pleasures of Army life!

Giles on November 17, 2010 at 6:29 pm

any word if the print will get circulated around the US to theatres that can feature 70mm ??? (oh please, an East Coast date and theatre cough AFI Silver)

plinfesty on November 17, 2010 at 9:09 pm

I believe this new print was actually first shown in 2008 and has been shown a number of times since with a DTS soundtrack. I think all that’s new this time is that new DTS disks with the restored soundtrack has replaced the earlier DTS disc. I was disappointed in the quality of the image. Too many dupey looking shots, not like the 70mm prints struck back in 1990.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on November 18, 2010 at 5:17 am

jwr, How bout adding the Camp Kaiser Theater to Cinema Treasures or email the info you have to me and I’ll add it, what about other posts you saw flicks at?

I don’t know if you know this but after 16 years the Camp closed in November of 1970 and was turned over to the ROK Army Corps. Perhaps they still show movies? Anyway when the Army left, Unchon became a Ghost Town.

Retired USN Chief Bob Jensen

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on November 18, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Hi raysson… The last time I recently saw Rita Moreno was in person at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre… as a paying patron (yes, paying!!!) and while briefly chatting she told me she lived in the Berkeley area. Nice lady.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on November 18, 2010 at 8:10 pm

How bout reports from those who saw the film?

LawMann on November 19, 2010 at 6:20 am

raysson, we ran West Side Story in 70mm in 1989 at the Cinerama Dome theatre in Los Angeles.

RobertAlex on November 19, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I was able to make it last night to see WSS. It was a fun night. The theater was about 75% full, George Chakiris was the special guest. There was about a 15 min question and answer with him. Who knew that he originated the role of Riff in the London West End production before being cast as Bernardo in the film?

There was an explanation of what we were about to hear with slides. It was explained that the original track with the 5 channels behind the screen was lost, and all new prints had just a L R and C channel. This soundtrack had the additional two channels behind the screen. I am not that technical, but I have never heard this movie sound so good. There were things that I never noticed before…the shoes during dance scenes, certain instruments in the sound track were more prevalent, and during the rumble scene, I never heard the cars on the highway above so clearly. It was great. (with the exception of those uncomfortable worn out seats).

The picture was wonderful and it had the overture with the lines turning into nyc, as well as the intermission. There were some glitches in the picture here and there, but overall…it was brilliant. Everyone had an awesome time.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on November 20, 2010 at 11:43 am

Thanks robertalex. I was hoping someone would report back to us!

William on November 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm

The five channels on screen plus one surround is like the Todd-AO way of mixing films. It’s 1)Left 2)Left Extra 3)Center 4)Right Extra 5)Right 6)Surround . The sound followed the action of the screen. This is the way the 70MM prints were released and shown. Later 70MM Dolby 6-Track prints offered 1)Left 2)Sub 3)Center 4)Sub 5)Right 6) Surround (mono or Split). So not every theatre equipped with 70MM now can play this film’s Full 6-Track mix, because channels 2 & 4 are subs not regular stage speakers.

MPol on November 24, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Hey…I wish I could’ve been to the WSS screening last month. Unfortunately, since I live on the opposite side of the country, I couldn’t be there, but I’m hoping, hoping, hoping for a 50th-year anniversary national re-release of West Side Story into the movie theatres for 2011. If that happens, I’m so there!!

MPol on June 11, 2011 at 6:45 am

The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA recently had a 50th-year anniversary screening of West Side Story at the end of last month. It was clearly not 70mm, but I was so glad to see it!

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