Adapted from a successful stage production, this product transfers with great ability to the screen. Based on the rise and fall of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, played by Natalie Wood, it starts back in the days of vaudeville. The real Baby June (June Havoc who went on to play bit parts and eventually moved to teaching acting) was pushed so much by her mother to excel on the stage she eventually runs out on the troop and begins her own show, leaving sister Louise (Wood) to take up the slack.
Although touted as the story of Gypsy, we see more of the background and failures of her mother Rose, played by Rosalind Russell. The crux of the story is when defeated and broken and no where left to turn, Rose and Louise show up at what they believe is a vaudeville theater and soon discover it has turned to burlesque. Louise is willing to go on anyway and sing but when one of the strippers is arrested, she steps in to begin what is probably the most unique strip act ever known.
Flashing forward years we find Gypsy still the star of the runway without actually ever exposing her body. As the girls' taught her long ago at the burlesque theater, it is all in presentation and gimmicks, and Rose always tells her to remain a lady at all times. Finally full of herself, thinking she is way ahead of her mother and doesn't need her anymore, Louise/Gypsy affects a separation from Rose. In a brilliant production, Rose stands center stage and gives a fantastic performance of Rose's Turn', on an empty stage to an empty theater.
This was filmed at the height of Wood's career and she is breathtakingly beautiful. Wrapped in those glorious gowns of yesteryear and moving across that stage - fantastic! Russell is powerful in her role as Rose - the typical stage mother but one with a repressed talent she never got the chance to develop. She is very aggressive and very abrasive and determined to become a star by osmosis.
The hardest part to swallow in this film is Karl Malden as a love interest. I mean, he is a good actor but very tough to take as a lover boy - that darn type casting again. Regardless, his performance is credible if you just discount the love interest with Russell. Of course, this love interest is needed as proof of just how single minded Rose is. Ann Jillian plays the part of Dainty June with remarkable clarity.
Memorable songs came from this movie, and the stage production, that will probably be identified for years to come - Let Me Entertain You', Some People', Everything's Coming Up Roses', among many others. Nominated for three Academy Awards, just a basic good movie from start to finish. I am sitting here watching Summer of Sam while writing this review and I wonder where our movie values have gone. A shame that more people don't visit the old classics!
This new remastered print of GYPSY is only available as part of Warner's Natalie Wood Collection DVD boxset (along with "Sex and the Single Girl", "Bombers B-52", "Cash McCall", "Inside Daisy Clover" and a revised print of "Splendor in the Grass"). Owning the original Warner DVD pressing for GYPSY as well, I've compared the old print with this new one, and can confirm that the image looks sharper and clearer on the new DVD, with beautifully-saturated colours evidently struck … more
Ringing with the show-biz sass of its Jule Styne/ Stephen Sondheim score, the film version of the Broadway hit Gypsy takes you on a grand vaudeville tour. It sweeps you up in the roller-coaster relationship of Louise (Natalie Wood), the wallflower later to blossom into sophisticated stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, and her ambitious mother Rose (Rosalind Russell, whose performance won her a fifth Best Actress Golden Globe Award). Karl Malden scores as Herbie, the salesman who falls for Rose -- to his exasperation. Full of terrific tunes (Everything's Coming Up Roses, Small World and Some People Among Them), Gypsy will certainly entertain you and definitely make you smile.