Scrolling Headlines:

Nineteen turnovers sink UMass men’s basketball in loss to Fordham Saturday -

January 21, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls to Fordham behind strong defensive effort by the Rams -

January 21, 2017

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

Post-Cold War View on “West Side Story”

Throughout October, Amherst Cinema will be screening three classic films from the 1950s: “Rebel Without a Cause,” “West Side Story,” and “Jailhouse Rock.” The films are being shown as part of an exhibition entitled, “The 1950s: Cold War Culture and the Birth of The Cool.” The reason behind the exhibition of these films is an experimental course being offered at Hampshire College this semester, which bears the same title as the exhibition. The course uses film, music, art, and other expressive mediums to explore and understand American culture in the 1950s. 

“The 1950s: Cold War Culture and the Birth of The Cool” is a course that offers a non-traditional look at mid-twentieth century America. The Amherst Cinema website explains how through lectures, film screenings, and small discussion groups, students enrolled in this class examine the social and cultural histories of the 1950s. The activities shed light on landmark developments of the era, including the atom bomb, McCarthyism, postwar Marxism, suburbanization, civil rights, immigration and ethnic assimilation, existentialism and other transformations of the postwar period.

The course is lead by a trio of professors who studied with concentrations in different areas: Michele Hardesty, an assistant professor of U.S. Literature, Karen Koehler, an assistant professor of Architectural History and Rebecca Miller, an associate professor of Music. The various academic disciplines, combined with the wide-array of mediums covered in the class, lead to an intricate and multi-angled look at the 1950s and how those years have come to shape and define modern life in America.

In conjunction with the course offerings, on October 22, Amherst Cinema will be showing “West Side Story,” which will feature an introduction and a discussion session led by Rebecca Miller following the film. Miller’s academic area of interest focuses on music as a culture and music in culture. In her introduction to the film, Miller will speak about the film score, written by Leonard Bernstein, as well as certain aspects of the film relating to the culture of the 1950s, including the representation of specific ethnic groups, the depictions of youths and authority figures, and how the music and choreography used in the film add to the dramatic story and amplify the plot-line.

The film is a musical adaptation of the classic story of Romeo and Juliette. The production was based on the book written by Ernest Lehman and directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. In the film, the feuding families from Shakespeare’s story are replaced by two rival New York City gangs – the Sharks, a Puerto Rican gang led by Bernardo (George Chakiris), and the Jets, a white gang headed by Riff (Russ Tamblyn). While the war between the two gangs escalates, Tony, a former leader of the Jets, played by Richard Beymer and Maria, Bernardo’s sister, played by Natalie Wood meet each other and fall in love.

Following this classic plotline, the story is a masterpiece of wonderful songs, dancing and topnotch acting. The film swept the 1962 Academy Awards garnering 10 total Oscars including Best Picture and Best Musical Score among other awards for supporting acting, direction, cinematography, editing, sound, costume and art direction. All in all, it’s a must-see classic that continues to delight film-goers today.

“West Side Story” will be showing at Amherst Cinema on October 22 at 7 p.m. “Jailhouse Rock,” the third and final film of the series, will be shown on Thursday, October 29 at 7 p.m.

Steven Baum can be reached at sbaum@student.umass.edu

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