There, I said it. I don't care if it won 10 Oscars…the 1961 film is cheesy with a capital Cheddar.
I came across the movie while flipping channels just as we were crawling into bed last night, and told Dr. Darling we had to watch it for a bit as it was a "classic" and all. After laughing through my rendition of "When You're a Jet" complete with the requisite rhythmic finger-snaps, she (wisely, it turns out) rolled over and went to sleep.
Not me. I hung with the movie all the way through the rumble where Tony kills 'Nardo (sorry, anyone who doesn't know this story doesn't deserve a spoiler warning). And as I watched the clock turn midnight…I wondered why I was torturing myself. The acting was bad and the singing was worse, even though it was (allegedly) dubbed using professional vocalists. This is a real pity because the music itself is so good. (I've been whistling the main theme all day.) The dancing stands the test of time, too. The choreography is still pretty cool even 46 years on.
I don't question that the original 1957 broadway musical was a phenomenon in its day, but the movie was just painful to watch. Had crack been invented by 1961? Because I'm pretty sure members of the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences were smoking it during the voting that year.