There is a wonderfully funny sequence involving three nails-hard strippers which comes when Gypsy has been unreeling about an hour. The sequence is thoroughly welcome and almost desperately needed to counteract a certain Jane One-Note implicit in the tale of a stage mother whose egotisms become something of a bore despite the canny skills of director-producer Mervyn LeRoy to contrive it otherwise.

There is a wonderfully funny sequence involving three nails-hard strippers which comes when Gypsy has been unreeling about an hour. The sequence is thoroughly welcome and almost desperately needed to counteract a certain Jane One-Note implicit in the tale of a stage mother whose egotisms become something of a bore despite the canny skills of director-producer Mervyn LeRoy to contrive it otherwise.

Rosalind Russell’s performance as the smalltime brood-hen deserves commendation. It is cleverly managed all the way, with much help from the camera angles of Harry Stradling Sr.

Russell is less surprising than Karl Malden, as the mother’s incredibly loyal lover who finally screams when he perceives that she cares for nobody and nothing except her own ego compulsions.

About Natalie Wood: it is not easy to credit her as a stripper but it is interesting to watch her, under LeRoy’s guidance, go through the motions in a burlesque world that is prettied up in soft-focus and a kind of phony innocence. Any resemblance of the art of strip, and its setting, to reality is, in this film, purely fleeting.

There are some beguiling satirical touches in the re-creation of the hokey vaudeville routines starring ‘Baby June’ Havoc, well impersonated by Ann Jilliann, whose flight from the mother turns the latter’s attention upon the previously neglected sister, Louise, the Gypsy Rose of later show biz. The film, of course, is based upon the autobiography of Gypsy Rose Lee and the [1959] musical comedy in which Ethel Merman starred.

More chronicle than musical, there are advantages still in some of the music (Jule Styne) and lyrics (Stephen Sondheim) and the choreography (Robert Tucker).

[For general release, pic was cut to 143 mins., with the song 'Together Wherever We Go' eliminated.]

1962: Nominations: Best Color Cinematography, Color Costume Design, Adpted Music Score

Gypsy

Production

Warner. Director Mervyn LeRoy; Producer Mervyn LeRoy; Screenplay Leonard Spigelgass; Camera Harry Stradling Sr; Editor Philip W. Anderson; Music Frank Perkins (sup.); Art Director John Beckman

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1962. Running time: 149 MIN.

With

Rosalind Russell Natalie Wood Karl Malden Paul Wallace Ann Jilliann Harvey Korman
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