Noetic Hatter’s review published on Letterboxd:
Tell me again why I waited all these years to finally watch this one?
Natalie Wood in brownface doesn't look a bit like the real Latinas in the cast. But she sure is purty.
Also, I think Fassbinder must have studied this movie for its use of color and lighting.
Also also, three lyric-free long dance sequences, including the long ballet introducing the two gangs and the neighborhood that opens the film = daring. All three are massively complex and radically different from each other, and they're all brilliant.
Also also also, the notes that back up the words "Somewhere Somehow" are powerful enough on their own to make me cry. That's serious beauty right there.
Also also also also, now I know where the "how many bullets are left, Chino" bit that I have heard all my life comes from. And how many of you expected Maria to do something different when she picks up the gun in that scene? I know I sure did.
Also also also also also, Rita Moreno is Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.
Also also also also also also, I think it was ballsy for 1961 to make the rapey "animals" be the white kids instead of the brown kids. That scene was difficult to watch - meaning it was perfectly done.
Frak it. I am breaking my own rule and giving it five stars on first viewing.