HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Auschwitz Escape, The
Jungle Fever
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
   
 
Newest Articles
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
   
 
  Gypsy I'm A Pretty Girl
Year: 1962
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood, Karl Malden, Paul Wallace, Betty Bruce, Parley Baer, Harry Shannon, Morgan Brittany, Ann Jillian, Diane Pace, Faith Dane, Roxanne Arlen, Jean Willes, George Petrie, Ben Lessy, Guy Raymond, Louis Quinn, Jack Benny
Genre: Musical, Comedy, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Louise (Natalie Wood) was not quite born in a trunk, but her mother Rose Hovick (Rosalind Russell) was determined that she and her other daughter June (Ann Jillian) should be a success in vaudeville, and she placed them on the stage as soon as she could. Known as Dainty June, the younger sister was the one she stored all her hopes in, first establishing her song and dance act with Louise dressed as a cow in the background and a collection of young boys as dancers to support her. She met Herbie Sommers (Karl Malden) on the road and he offered to become the manager of the act in return for marrying Rose, but she was just too caught up in June...

This was the movie adaptation of the long-running, hit Broadway musical, one of those plays that took a certain loosening of censorship to be judged acceptable for the big screen, as happened as the nineteen-sixties progressed. Why was that? Because Louise was actually Gypsy Rose Lee, the famed stripper, though handily for access to family audiences she was well-known for keeping most of her clothes on during her performances, getting by on sheer personality and showbiz sparkle rather than showing herself au naturel. Natalie Wood was presumably quite happy about that too, and indeed spend over half the movie covered up in dowdy costumery.

This was to contrast with the transformation in the latter part where, as anyone watching this would be aware, she transformed butterfly like into a lovely lady of burlesque, you know, like Dita von Teese did later on when the form made a comeback as an attraction, though more as kitsch than anything seen here. Actually, the picture of the entertainment industry this painted was bloody miserable, and if it was not for the regular bursts of song you would never be able to identify any joy in this tale whatsoever, depicting as it did a stage mother so overbearing that she forces her daughters onto the circuit whether they want to be there or not; one escapes, the other doesn't.

It should be pointed out that Dainty June became June Havoc, a grown-up star who lived a long and fruitful life largely in theatres, though she had a movie career as well, and she was seriously unhappy about her sister's portrayal of her in her book, the musical, and finally this film. At the time, however, audiences and critics were grumbling about something else: Rosalind Russell, in a role they believed should have been played by the original star Ethel Merman, that bulldozer of a Broadway barnstormer who was always pitching to the back row of the auditorium, and after all, Everything's Coming up Roses from this musical was her signature song. Would she have been a better bet? In truth, though a legend on the boards, Merman never really caught on in cinema thanks to her outsize personality which rejected all subtlety, and Russell has latterly been reassessed as the preferable choice by more recent fans.

Mind you, Russell did not do her own singing for most of it, and she did look dubbed whenever Rose bursts into song in a way that Wood, who was allowed to use her own voice, did not. Though Wood did not get that many of Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim's songs to sing, she performed them adequately, despite she too being accused of miscasting. Coming off West Side Story, another musical, where she was dubbed and had to play in brownface, you would have thought this was a better fit, especially as she also had a pushy mother who demanded her offspring become an actress from a young age, but she seemed more comfortable when dressed down for the earlier scenes rather than dressed up in sequins. That said, she may be the reason movie buffs return to Gypsy on film (it was remade as a Bette Midler TV movie) because of her notorious and still unsolved death keeping her in the consciousness, not to mention sensational stories of her sex life and her mental breakdowns she would probably not have thanked her fans for harping on about. But she was not really the main character: Rosalind Russell was, and as often swept all before her in overacting.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 427 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: