Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

"West Side Story" And The Puerto Rican Thing

Features
by Tambay A. Obenson
November 7, 2011 3:09 PM
1 Comment
  • |

From TCM's Movie Morlock's blog (a site I highly recommend to all you classic movie geeks):

It is brownface, and in the case of Rita Moreno, who is Puerto Rican, quite literally so. She had dark make-up put on her, as did George Chakiris, and all the others, with the same shade of brown to make them look the same – except for Natalie Wood. She wasn’t in brownface, although it is “brownface” in the sense that she’s someone of Eastern European descent, a known white actress here playing a different ethnicity, a New York Puerto Rican; a New Yorican. Is that a problem? Only in the theoretical sense that there may have been other actors they could have gone to. But not really… because in Hollywood at that time the only Puerto Rican actors we knew from going to the movies were José Ferrer and Rita Moreno. But even though Moreno had been doing her thing in MGM since the mid-50′s she wasn’t a big movie star. Natalie Wood was hired to “play” a Puerto Rican, to act; and acting is what actors do.

Words from film scholar Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz (who's also Puerto Rican) on West Side Story, which will be screened in select theaters nation-wide on November 9th, to celebrate the film’s 50th Anniversary. As TCM notes, the film marked the first time Puerto Ricans were the focus of a mainstream film production.

Mr Acevedo-Muñoz is currently penning a book on the film which will defend its representation of Puerto Ricans, as he begins above. Read the rest of the Movie Morlock's piece HERE.

Features
  • |

More: Interviews

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

1 Comment

  • Tontxi Vazquez | November 8, 2011 3:16 PMReply

    great to have discovered this site!

Follow Shadow and Act

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Deborah Cox Will "Provide Vocal Tracks" ...
  • If it Wasn't Clear Before, Shonda Rhimes ...
  • Damon Gupton/Nia Long Legal Thriller ...
  • trinidad+tobago film festival and Amnesty ...
  • 20th Annual Chicago Black Harvest Film ...
  • John Coltrane Died Today in History. ...
  • Exclusive: 'Newlyweeds' Star Trae Harris ...
  • Will Packer Adds to Universal Slate, ...
  • Susan Heyward Lands Female Lead In Sony ...
  • Watch First Trailer for Tyler Perry's ...