December 20, 2002

I was an impressionable youngster, a mere child of 13 or so when I first saw Natalie Wood in "West Side Story". The story held me in thrall all the way to its "Somewhere" climax - no surprise given that the 'Romeo & Juliet' formula does that to nearly everyone. But the scene in "West Side Story" that first stung my heart was when Maria fell to her knees to pray to Mary before a lit blue candle after she heard Tony had killed her cousin. There was nothing more appealing to my early teenishness than a holy girl, for they seemed so rare. The girls I knew were unctious and supercillious. (Not that we boys were any prize).

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