Everything comes up roses when you let Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood and Karl Malden entertain you in the lavish movie musical of the Broadway hit about Gypsy Rose Lee and her formidable mother. Year: 1962 Director: Mervy... more »n LeRoy Starring: Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood, Karl Malden« less
"When Warner Bros purchased the rights to the 1959 musical hit GYPSY it was intended to make a purely dramatic film, with songs from the Jule Styne & Stephen Sondheim Broadway score confined to the theatrical sequences. Rosalind Russell was chosen for the starring (but non-musical) role of Mama Rose along side Natalie Wood as Gypsy Rose Lee. However just as this version of GYPSY began filming, THE MUSIC MAN opened in theatres and scored a huge hit. It was then decided that GYPSY should be filmed as a musical follow-up to THE MUSIC MAN. The production closed down and was revamped as a musical. Rosalind Russell could sing but not in the style her role demanded (all of Mama Rose's songs in the Broadway production were written in the original Mama Rose, Ethel Merman's vocal style). It was decided to bring in singer Lisa Kirk to assist Russell with the vocals rather than re-cast the role. The end result fully justifies this decision because Rosalind Russell's Mama Rose is simply magnificent and the combination of Russell and Kirk in the songs is so perfect you never know (or care) who is doing the singing. No other actress, before or since (which includes such illustrious performers as Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Bette Midler and Tyne Daly), even comes close to conveying the monster in mother's clothing that was Mama Rose the way Russell does while still allowing the humanity of the character to emerge now and then only to become subservient once again to her driving ambition.Natalie Wood is also excellent as Gypsy Rose Lee, who succeeded beyond her mother's Dreams. Her mother and daughter showdown scene with Russell is riveting. A young, vibrant Ann Jillian gives equally great support as Dainty June, the focus of Mama Rose's machinations for most of the film, who also went on to become June Havoc, one of the most celebrated stage actresses of her time.Besides great acting, the songs are performed with a bravura and brilliance that far outclasses all other versions of this musical. In fact the Warner Bros. Studio Orchestra plays this music so magnificently it makes the more recent Bette Midler TV version sound anemic by comparison. The Dolby Digital 5:1 Discrete Surround envelopes you into the proceedings and the sharp, richly saturated Technicolor wide screen image (2:35-1) is fully equal to the superb audio.But it is Rosalind Russell in one of the greatest screen performances ever committed to film that drives this version of GYPSY to the top of the heap and makes this DVD a "must own.""
Everything's Coming Up Roz
Gregor von Kallahann | 04/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Some spend the winter hibernating. I spend it hibernating AND watching musicals. This past winter in the Northeast wasn't quite as severe as some we've seen, but it was LOOOONG. The winter that wouldn't die. So I needed a goodly supply of classic musicals on hand.
What a treat it was to re-watch GYPSY after lo these umpteen years. Rosalind Russell's Rose is a study in great force-of-nature type acting. As it happens, hers is the only Rose I've ever seen, so I cannot really get into the who-was-better argument with any real authority. But it's hard to imagine that Merman could have played this archetypical stage monster, uh, mother with more authority on the big screen. My guess is that those who maintain that Russell brings subtlety to the character that Merman could not have are right. Merman may have been great on stage, where bigger is better (voice, manner, gesture and all out pizzazz), but what works wonderfully on stage may be deadly on screen (and vice versa).
Roz was the quintessential tough broad on screen. She projected warmth, as well as street smarts though--and that was the order of the day with the screen version of GYPSY. She's supported by a wonderful cast: Karl Malden, just great as always, as her big lug/softie of a suitor. And Natalie Wood, fetching as always, as the young, sweet vulnerable Louise.
GYPSY is as good a musical as you're going to find. Smart, touching, sassy. They don't make 'em like that anymore. Well, of course, they don't really make musicals much anymore, but you know what I mean.
I hope I won't leave Roz Russell fans crushed when I mention one thing, however. For years, I used to tout Russell's talk-singing as proof that a talented actor with even moderate vocal ability could always learn to put over a song. Now I learn from imdb.com that the vocals (some? all?) may have been supplied by actress Lisa Kirk. I am shocked--not appalled, but shocked. If those vocals aren't Roz's own, well, it's just about a perfect match. The songs are sung in as gritty a voice as Roz uses in delivering the lines. I have no doubt that Russell could have pulled it off herself, and it may have been the case that some suit at the studio chickened out and brought in Lisa.
Well, it could have been worse. At least they didn't go against type and drag in Marni Nixon.
PS--Ah yes, it only occurred to me to check a little further to see if there was a soundtrack album on CD to see what the real scoop on the Lisa/Roz business was. It's true that Lisa was brought in after Roz had already recorded her versions. Since Roz's outtakes are included on the CD, it's doubtless enlightening. The reviews (all customer reviews, in this case) are penned by fans in the know, and although no one can agree, they're well worth taking a look at if you're at all curious. Purchasing the CD may well be worth it if you're very curious."
Everything's Coming Up Rose!
Lisa Verson | Dayton, OH | 07/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I loved this version of "Gypsy." I was a part of a school production of the musical, so I decided to see what the movie version was like. There are several differences, but this movie has the same flare that the stage production does. The DVD has the two songs that are missing from the movie (they are located in the bonus features area) which I enjoyed very much. I only wish that they had been in the movie in the first place!Rosalind Russell is WONDERFUL as Rose, a mother who wants to make her children, mainly her youngest, June, a star. She travels, along with her other daughter Louise (played by the wonderful Natalie Wood) and Herbie (Carl Malden). All three characters gave great performances. I always get a lump in the back of my throat when Herbie leaves Rose after she refuses to set a date for their marriage and tries to make Louise the star. After Louise discovers that she is very successful in her new profession--stripping, she changes her name to Gypsy Rose Lee and leaves her mother behind. Rose then goes on to sing the greatest song of the movie, 'Rose's Turn.' Rosalind Russell does a great job with the song, even if her voice is a little scratchy. Her acting was superb. I have always loved the ending (which I will not give away for those who have yet to see the movie). If you're a musical fan, rent this movie. You will not be disappointed!"
LET GYPSY ENTERTAIN YOU!
Sean Orlosky | Cadiz, Ohio | 03/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You want a good Sunday afternoon musical? That was when I discovered "Gypsy". I had never before known of Gypsy Rose Lee, and was interested when I was promised by John Burke of AMC that I would "love the movie". And love it I did! I am a big Rosalind Russell fan, and this makes for one heckuva showcase for her! She plays the role of Gypsy's Mama Rose with a vim and vigor unlike she shows in any other of her movies. She is A PRESCENCE. She plays the role with explosive power, but with the understanding and heart that (hopefully) the real Rose possessed. And Natalie Wood adds a glistening sparkle to this cast with class as the vibrant Gypsy Rose Lee, dazzling and beautiful. She plays against her child star image by lustily singing and grinding to a stripper beat and playfully tossing her clothes off. Karl Malden is excellent as Rose's fiancee Herbie. And the Sondheim/Styne songs are all incredible, each a production and thrill: the showpiece "Let Me Entertain You", the bouncy "Have An Eggroll, Mr. Goldstone", the charming "Small World", and the exciting final number, "Rose's Turn". WHAT A MOVIE! See this one and "you'll have a real good time, yes, sir!""
The Wallflower Blooms
Gypsy | Canada | 05/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the hit Broadway play, Mervyn LeRoy directed this under-appreciated musical gem. Rosalind Russell is Mama Rose, the mother of all stage mothers, grooming her two young daughters for stardom on the vaudeville stage. She pays special attention to her youngest child, blond Baby June, while Louise is relegated to the background. As time goes on, the vaudeville craze fades with the coming of talkie films, and now her bubbly blond darling, Danity June (Ann Jilliann), is desperate to break free, deserting the family act. Rose is forced to start from scratch, with wallflower Louise (Natalie Wood, who was always in her sister's shadow), as the headliner in a new act, which basically goes nowhere. One day, Rose and her troop, now called Rose Louise and her Hollywood Blondes, wind up in a burlesque theater, and young Louise finds herself drawn into the the role of a stripper. She sheds her shy persona and becomes the world's most famous stripper, Gypsy Rose Lee.
Ethel Merman originated Rose on the stage, but Roz Russell does more than an adequate job, despite the fact that her singing voice was dubbed in some musical numbers. She is strong, overbearing, a little eccentric, but at the same time, she commands the audience's sympathy when she realizes that her ambition has just driven her daughters away, and she finds herself alone, with no one to live through anymore. Natalie Wood gives a touchingly vulnerable performance, her thin but endearing singing voice expressing Louise's pain and confusion in extraordinary volumes. Since she was groomed by an obsessive stage mother herself, Wood really had the the material to draw from; her lessons from the real Gypsy Rose Lee undoubtedly helped in her character's transformation from a shy girl to sophisticated stripper (the striptease numbers are fabulous). Who doesn't shed her a tear when she sings, "Little Lamb", or feels enthralled as she performs "Let Entertain You"? As she studies herself before a mirror prior to her first night on the burlesque stage, she sees her beauty for the first time - "I'm pretty - I'm a pretty girl, Mama!" When she makes her mark, she engages in an argument with her controlling mother, bringing both to a heartache, and later, an understanding. "You really could have been something, Mother," Louise informs Rose after catching a bit of her "performance" on the empty stage.
Having seen the 1993 version starring Bette Midler, I still prefer this one; no matter what anyone says, Roz is not miscast, and this film does not, in my opinion, have any "clumsy" moments; it is a vintage Hollywood musical. Karl Malden gives a comedic and committed performance as Rose's suitor Herbie, who wants her to marry him and who wants to provide a home for her kids. A young Morgan Brittney plays little Baby June; seeing her makes you think of her as the "Jon Benet" of the 1920s. It's finally on DVD, as it deserves to be; the letterbox enhances the film in a way that pan-and-scan videos never could.