All the recent West Side Story chatter caused me to rewatch the film this past week. In her younger days (from images and video), Chita is one of those performers who looks stunning on stage, but doesn't necessarily 'read' as traditionally beautiful on screen. So, I can certainly see why Rita got the film over Chita (if Chita was even seriously considered?) Note: I'm not suggesting that the only reason Rita was cast was because of her attractiveness.
But, then the dancing. I don't know if I'm being harsh, but Rita's dancing in the film feels... dutiful and competent. It's such a shame that we don't have a high quality video archive of Chita's dancing in West Side Story. I know it had to have been thrilling. Are any of you old enough to have seen Chita perform in the original Broadway or London companies? Sometimes, for that reason alone, I wish she'd gotten the film.