Friday, August 27, 2010

Gypsy (1962) "Let Me Entertain You"


Rosalind Russell- Rose Hovick
Natalie Wood- Louise Hovick, later Gypsy Rose Lee
Karl Malden-Herbie Sommers
Paul Wallace-Tulsa
Betty Bruce-Tessie Tura
Parley Baer-Mr. Kringelein
Harry Shannon-Grandpa
Morgan Brittany-Baby June
Ann Jillian-'Dainty' June
Diane Pace-Baby Louise
Faith Dane-Mazeppa
Roxanne Arlen-Electra
Jean Willes-Betty Cratchitt
George Petrie-George
Ben Lessy-Mervyn Goldstone


Produced by-Mervyn LeRoy 
Original Music by-Jule Styne
Cinematography by -Harry Stradling Sr. (director of photography)
Film Editing by-Philip W. Anderson
Art Direction by -John Beckman
Set Decoration by -Ralph S. Hurst
Costume Design by-Orry-Kelly
Costume Design by-Howard Shoup (uncredited)

Makeup Department

Gordon Bau .... makeup supervisor
Sydney Guilaroff .... hair styles creator: Miss Wood
Gene Hibbs .... makeup: Miss Russell
Jean Burt Reilly .... supervising hair stylist

Production Management

Floyd Joyer .... unit manager (uncredited)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Gil Kissel .... assistant director
Mecca Graham .... assistant director (uncredited)
Gregg Peters .... assistant director (uncredited)

Art Department

Pat Patterson .... props (uncredited)

Sound Department

M.A. Merrick .... sound
Dolph Thomas .... sound
William Thompson .... boom operator (uncredited)

Camera and Electrical Department

J.B. Allen .... camera assistant (uncredited)
Frank Flanagan .... gaffer (uncredited)
George Gall .... camera assistant (uncredited)
Charles Harris .... chief grip (uncredited)
William Perillard .... best boy (uncredited)
Harry Stradling Jr. .... camera operator (uncredited)
Clyde Taylor .... gaffer (uncredited)

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Bill Gaskin .... assistant costume designer (uncredited)

Editorial Department

John F. Burnett .... assistant editor (uncredited)

Music Department

Carl Brandt .... orchestrator
Frank Perkins .... conductor
Frank Perkins .... music supervisor
Frank Perkins .... orchestrator
Stephen Sondheim .... lyricist
Cubby O'Brien .... musician: drums (uncredited)

Other crew

Ruth Bridges .... secretary: Mr. LeRoy
Leland Hayward .... producer: stage-play
David Merrick .... producer: stage-play
Jerome Robbins .... choreographer: stage play
Jerome Robbins .... director: stage play
Robert Tucker .... choreographer
Erica Wernher .... script supervisor
Robert E. Blair .... dog trainer (uncredited)
Wayne Fitzgerald .... title designer (uncredited)


Mama Rose lives to see her daughter June succeed on Broadway by way of vaudeville. Later,when June marries and leaves, Rose turns her hope and attention to her elder, less obviously talented, daughter Louise. However, having her headlining as a stripper at Minsky's Burlesque is not what she initially has in mind.

In Los Angeles,Ca,   Baby June(Morgan Brittany) and Baby Louise(Diane Pace) audition for Uncle Jocko(Let Me Entertain You). Rose(Rosalind Russell)disturbs the audition. She chats with Jocko about booking an act that was fixed by mistake.   The next day Rose heads to an old vaudville theater in L.A. to see if they have a place for the girls' acts.  Rose runs into Herbie Summers(Karal Maldan)he was Uncle Jocko in Los Angeles.  He quit being Uncle Jocko and want to stick with his job selling candy bars. They get aquanted with each-other(Small World).Rose has decided to head back home to Seattle in her broken down car. Herbie offers to drive them there. So,  Rose takes her girls to thier father's house to refiance. Herbie waves goodbye to Rose and takes the train to Chicago. Rose gets a telegram from Herbie to say that the Weber theatre is holding kid acts. Rose begs her father to get her eightty-eight bucks for her and her family to Chicago. Her father disagrees and Rose tells him, "Everyone that stays home is dead! If I die, it won't be from sittin', it'll be from fighting to get up and out!". She then says how much the money means to her(Some People). Baby June makes a success of her hit number(Baby June and Her Newsboys). Couple months later, Louise(now Natalie Wood)celebrates her birthday. Herbie gives her a gift that Rose can use for June's(now Anne Jillian)new act. Herbie says to Rose that Mr.Goldstone can book their act for them. The whole "family" is happy and cherish him(Mr.Goldstone, I Love You). Right after this, Louise cherishes her gift(Little Lamb). Before the audition, Rose discusses with Herbie that she'll marry him after the audition. However, Herbie doesn't believe her. Rose gets Herbie to believe her(You'll Never Get Away From Me). The next day June and the boys try their act(Dainty June and Her Farmboys). It's a success, but they put a phenonemal ending to it(Broadway!). Grandzigar's assistant makes out a contract which Rose doesn't agree to, plus gets really fussy. She says no, but Louise tries to comfort her. While doing this, Louise wishes their Mamma could marry Herbie(If Mamma Was Married). Later, Tulsa(Paul Wallace), tells Louise about swingin' act(All I Need Is The Girl). At the end, Louise can't help joining in, and she hopes that she'll be Tulsa's partner. Everything goes awful again,

June runs away, so now Rose thinks up a plan to make Louise a star. Rose convinces to her that if she does this, everything will be alright(Everything's Coming Up Roses). In Texas, Rose brought 6 girls to try a new Vaudiville act(Madame Rose's Toreadorables). Louise tells her Mom that the act stinks. Now they go to The Witchita Opera House, for thier act. Rose and Louise soons finds out that it turns out to be a House of Burlesque. They meet Tessie Tura(Betty Bruce), Mazeppa(Faith Dunce) and Electra(Roxanne Alren). They tell Louise how to become a stripper(You Gotta Get A Gimmick). Rose makes a deal with Herbie that he can marry him right after they're out of Burlesque. They make plans for the wedding, but Rose wants to stay, since one of the strippers got arrested for shoplifting. Rose tells Louise that she's gonna take the stage. Louise doesn't agree with her, but she gets ready anyhow. Herbie gets mad at Rose, and their love is distroyed. Rose remembers how good Herbie was to her, and how they found their love was special(Small World Repriese).

Louise comes out of the room, and finds out she's really pretty. She sings June's old song(Let Me Entertain You). She soons becomes the Queen of the Striptease. Rose gets mad about this, and Louise tells her that she doesn't want her Mother to be around anymore. Louise tells her at the end, "Because for the first time it IS my life, and I'll be damned if you're gonna take it away from me! I am Gypsy Rose Lee! I love her! And if you don't, you can just clear out!" Rose shouts to Louise that how miserable she'll be without Louise. She asks her what she did it for, Louise replies, "I thought you did it for me," which brakes Rose's heart. Rose thinks it over, and Rose realizes that she hasn't had a turn for herself, and she shows off on the empty stage(Rose's Turn). Louise and Rose find their fondness for each-other, for being Mother and Daughter.


Rose Hovick: [on remarrying] After three husbands, it takes a lot of butter to get you back in the frying pan.


Rose Hovick: [singing] You'll be swell, you'll be great. Gonna have the whole world on a plate! Starting here, starting now. Honey, everything's coming up roses.


Rose Hovick: [contemplating an unneeded wig] You know, we could get a nice refund on this... if we'd ever paid for it.


During the rehearsals for Gypsy (1962), Mervyn LeRoy was not happy with the girl that he had cast to play "Dainty June". (This was before Ann Jillian was cast.) He thought that the actress was not as good of a dancer or singer as Morgan Brittany, who played "Baby June". He tried to make Suzanne look old enough to play "Dainty June" by having Orry-Kelly design older clothes with padding and having her wear high heels, but the transformation didn't work, she still looked too young to play opposite Natalie Wood, so another casting session brought the role to Ann Jillian. Ann was not really a dancer but her voice was spectacular and Mervyn felt that she made a more believable older June.

Three legendary women were considered to play Mama Rose on film: Broadway's original Rose, Ethel Merman (who was producer-director Mervyn LeRoy's first choice), Judy Garland and Judy Holliday.

"Gypsy Rose Lee" and Natalie Wood Backstage

The stage team had hoped that Warner would cast Judy Garland as Mama Rose and Ann-Margret as Gypsy. The two stars had heavy scheduling conflicts, so the production team passed on both.

Most of Rosalind Russell's songs were dubbed by Lisa Kirk. However, Russell's voice can be heard in "Mr. Goldstone," the reprise of "Small World," and parts of "Rose's Turn" and the cut "Together Wherever We Go".


I thought Rosalind Russell  was good as as Mama Rose. She was very believable and even has a descent voice when you hear bits and pieces of it.  Especially for “Rose’s Turn” the power in her performance is shown in that song, wanting to have her time on stage and impress. I just love how passionate she is with it all, I also love that in that song she has to say “curtains up” as she is telling how she sees her performance going.


Natalie Wood is just fantastic as Louise then Gypsy Rose Lee. As Wood is so beautiful she has the naive charm going for her and plays the unlikely stripper ever so brilliantly.

Karl Walden was the “man” of the story. I was amused how often they acknowledged that fact, but he really grounded Russell’s extreme behavior, and it felt like he held the group together, while also being so damn sweet and likable. His character could have come off as desperate orwishy washy, but he just seemed to be a man genuinely in love with not only Rose and her energy and passion, but her makeshift family.

It does have some very amusing moments throughout as well as heart warming but also quite dramatic moments. Some of the funniest lines come from Rose.! I really do think its a very good all round musical, with something for everyone.

Does this entertain you?


Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations

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  1. I have loved the musical Gypsy since I was a kid. We had the Broadway album with Ethel Merman and I wore it out. I think it was a huge mistake not to cast Merman as Rose - the part was her from top to toe. However, Rosalind Russell was just electric in the part. She didn't have the natural singing talent, but everything else she did was dynamite. I remember reading that Ethel Merman was heartbroken that she was passed over for the part she had created. I do have to say, thank the Lord that Judy Garland and Ann Margaret could not do this movie. No way it would have been what it needs to be with them, much as I like them in other things. Natalie Wood was wonderful, moving smoothly from young girl to woman, and so beautiful. I also read somewhere that Gypsy Rose Lee herself broke down and cried watching Natalie perform one of her striptease numbers. And who would not want Karl Malden for a loving and protective husband. Poor Rose was just out of reality in that regard. I really enjoyed your article about Gypsy. It is one of the greats!

  2. By the way, I couldn't use my Google account for some reason, so I got in as anonymous. Then I forgot to sign my name to my comment. This is ClassicBecky, and as I said before, I loved your post!

  3. I don't know why my original comment did not show up, but it doesn't appear to be here. Anyway, basically I said I love the movie Gypsy and really enjoyed your article, especially the backstage information you gave.

  4. thanks Becky! I will be reviewing "Funny Girl" next!

  5. Good blog: You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned:) wedding makeup artist Sydney


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