This is a musical film performed in the like of Shakespeare’s tale Romeo and Juliet. It is about the battle for supremacy between two gangs namely ‘Sharks’ (Puerto Ricans) and ‘Jets’ (whites) who are musical gangs. The Jets win the title thanks to the police who chased the Sharks away and with Riff as their head they strive to maintain their dominance. Riff and Tony, (an ex-Jet member) try to test Bernardo, (leader of the Sharks) in the night’s neighbourhood dance. Maria, (Bernardo’s sister) who recently arrives from Puerto Rico works at a bridal shop with Anita, (Bernardo’s girlfriend) and they dress up for the much awaited neighbourhood dance.
As the challenge dance is on, from across the room, Tony sees Maria, and they got attracted to each other. They dance together and fall in love. Bernardo furiously pulls her sister away and sends her home. Riff and Bernardo plan to meet for a war on their neutral grounds, Doc’s drugstore. Tony finds out Maria’s house and serenades her outside he goes through the fire escape and they romantically reveal their love for one another. Meanwhile, the shark girls are talking about the Puerto Rico and American territory. At the drugstore, the two gangs meet up to examine the tools to use for the upcoming fight where Tony suggests just fist fight and the leaders agree. Tony tells Doc of his love for Maria and Doc knew that their love was in danger because of the conflict between the two groups (Burton 89).
The next morning, Maria and Tony meet, and Tony promises Maria that he will stop the fight. The night of the match arrives, and Tony tries to stop the war between Bernardo and Diesel (Jet member) despite Bernardo’s ridicules. Then Bernardo pushes Tony. This infuriates Riff who hits Bernardo with his fist; they then all draw their knives and start a knife fight. At one instant, Riff almost stabs Bernardo, but Tony pulls him. Riff struggles out of Tony’s grasp and in the process get stabbed to death. Filled with rage, Tony picks Riff’s knife and kills Bernardo. Everybody flees at the sound of the distant sirens except Tony who gets shocked. Tomboy (a Jet wannabe) tells Tony to leave the scene.
Chino was the chosen suitor for Maria by her parents from the shark group. He comes to deliver the bad news to Maria who does not believe until Tony explains to her and they decide to runaway. The Tomboy overhears a discussion of how Chino plans to kill Tony and informs the Jets who let her join the gang. Tomboy then falls in love with Action who is the new leader of the Jets and they all go to alert Tony.
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Tony decides to meet Maria at the drugstore so as to run away when Anita sadly comes in, and they speak with Marie. Lieutenant Schrank arrives to question Maria, and Anita goes to tell Tony to wait. When Anita gets to store, the Jets nearly rape her when the Doc walks in the room. Filled with anger, she tells them that Chino has killed Maria in jealousy. When Tony hears he rushes out to look for Chino. Just when he sees Maria living, Chino appears and shoots him. Maria claims that the hatred is what has taken away her friends and, so it should end. There and then the 2 gangs declare the hatred over and proceed with Tony’s body.
The reading “feeling pretty” is the song that Maria sings the next morning after the dance and meeting the newfound love, Tony. It relates that love can exist between any tribe despite their differences.
The author tries to show of the impossible love between two partners. In order for their love to triumph people have to die unless the hatred among them is over. This gets accomplished when Tony dies and, Maria claims the hatred should be done away with if they did not want more people to die. The film having been created in 1961 was directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. It addressed the rivalry that had been present between the Irish catholic and the Jewish community.
In the last scene, as Tony dies, it dawns that the animosity between the two groups would deprive them more of the people they loved. It is here that the author shows the role of Maria as the one who would bring peace and understanding to her people.
a) Guess who’s coming For Dinner.
The film is about a young American girl (Joanna Drayton) who gets romantically involved with an African-American, young and handsome physician (Dr John Prentice) in Hawaii. Joanna’s parents brought her up teaching her to be liberal. She decides to introduce John to her parents in San Francisco. Despite her parents (Matt Drayton and Christina Drayton) being liberalists, Joanna appears to be amazed at their response to John. John’s parents too came to meet Joanna oblivious of her skin colour. John’s father and Joanna’s parents are not for their children’s marriage and, this brings a conflict. The senior catholic priest, Monsignor Ryan is also present at the party but seems to bear with the situation being a religious man. Monsignor Ryan was usually bad tempered but very generous and helpful. Poor Joanna did not know that John would accept to marry her under the condition that her father permits him. Joanna’s father in return concludes that the couple cannot be due to John’s tight flight schedules. The summing up of the theme of the story comes in the last eight minutes, when Christina cries because of what his husband says at the dinner. The whole conflict came to peace when Matt asks food to be served.
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The story focuses on marriage as a basic human right. The choice of spouse should be up to the partners. According to Sydney Poitier, this story focuses on how illegal the interracial marriage was considered. However, in the movie the conflict is typically between John and Joanna’s father. Later Joanna becomes a strong woman with the freedom to do as she pleases.
The main topic here is about respecting people’s opinions. It is evident when the girl’s parents dislike her choice of husband. This is an American film created in 1967, and directed by Stanley Kramer and William Rose. It tried to address the issue of interracial marriage. This is because it was considered illegal in most places hence, a lot of debate which was settled after the release of this film. To the end of the production of the movie, the debate was tough until the court came to a decision. Though the constitution allowed interracial marriage, there would still be a lot of prejudice for the survival of their marriage (Collin 63).
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The title of the film is evident when John’s parents come to the dinner all the way from Los Angeles.
In conclusion, the two films attempted to address issues of distress in most places at that time. They both dwell on the difficulties that couples face due to their ethnic, race and background differences. They are of utmost significance in the world we live in today. This makes them a must watch for audiences all over the globe.
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