Gypsy is a 1962 American musical comedy-drama film produced and directed by Mervyn LeRoy. The screenplay by Leonard Spigelgass is based on the book of the 1959 stage musical Gypsy: A Musical Fable by Arthur Laurents, which was adapted from Gypsy: A Memoir by Gypsy Rose Lee. Stephen Sondheim wrote the lyrics for songs composed by Jule Styne. The film was remade for television in 1993.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mervyn LeRoy|
|Produced by||Mervyn LeRoy|
|Screenplay by||Leonard Spigelgass|
|Story by||Gypsy: A Musical Fable|
by Arthur Laurents
|Based on||Gypsy: A Memoir|
by Gypsy Rose Lee
|Music by||Jule Styne|
Music arranged and conducted by
|Edited by||Philip W. Anderson|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
Determined to make her young, blonde, and beautiful daughter June a vaudeville headliner, willful, resourceful, domineering stage mother Rose Hovick will stop at nothing to achieve her goal. She drags the girl and her shy, awkward, and decidedly less-talented older sister Louise around the country in an effort to get them noticed, and with the assistance of agent Herbie Sommers, she manages to secure them bookings on the prestigious Orpheum Circuit.
Years pass, and the girls no longer are young enough to pull off the childlike personae their mother insists they continue to project. June rebels, and elopes with Jerry, one of the dancers who backs the act. Devastated by what she considers an act of betrayal, Rose pours all her energies into making a success of Louise, despite the young woman's obvious lack of singing and dancing skills. Not helping matters is the increasing popularity of sound films, which leads to a decline in the demand for stage entertainment. With bookings scarce, mother and daughter find themselves in Wichita, Kansas, where the owner of a third-rate burlesque house books the act in hopes of keeping the vice squad at bay.
When one of the strippers is arrested for shoplifting, Rose immediately volunteers Louise for the spot as her replacement. Louise reluctantly agrees to go through with it, though it's clear she's only doing it to please her mother. This becomes the final straw for Herbie, as he's disgusted by the means Rose will go and that Rose will never marry him. He leaves, though he gives her a moment to give him a reason to stay. She fails at giving him one. At first, Louise's voice is shaky and her moves tentatively at best, but as audiences respond to her she begins to gain confidence in herself. She blossoms as an entertainer billed as Gypsy Rose Lee, and eventually reaches a point where she tires of her mother's constant interference in both her life and wildly successful career. Louise confronts Rose and demands she leave her alone. Finally, aware that she has spent her life enslaved by a desperate need to be noticed, an angry, bitter, and bewildered Rose stumbles onto the empty stage of the deserted theatre and experiences a moment of truth that leads to an emotional breakdown followed by a reconciliation with Louise.
"Together Wherever We Go" was deleted prior to the film's release, although it was included on the soundtrack album, and "You'll Never Get Away From Me" was abbreviated to a solo for Rose following the initial run. In the DVD release of the film, both numbers – taken from a 16-millimeter print of inferior quality – are included as bonus features.
Rosalind Russell and her husband, theatre producer Frederick Brisson, were hoping to do a straight dramatic version of the story based directly on the memoir by Gypsy Rose Lee, but the book was irrevocably tied up in the rights to the play. Coincidentally, Russell had just starred in the film version of the Leonard Spigelgass play A Majority of One at Warner Bros., which Brisson had produced, and all parties came together to make Gypsy, with Russell starring, LeRoy directing, and Spigelgass writing the highly faithful adaptation of the Arthur Laurents stage book.
Although Russell had starred and sung in the 1953 stage musical Wonderful Town and the 1955 film The Girl Rush, the Gypsy score was beyond her. Her own gravelly singing voice was artfully blended with that of contralto Lisa Kirk. Kirk's ability to mimic Russell's voice is showcased in the final number "Rose's Turn", which is a clever blend of both of their voices. Kirk's full vocal version was released on the original soundtrack, although it is not the version used in the finished film. In later years, Russell's original tryout vocals were rediscovered on scratchy acetate discs and included as bonus tracks on the CD reissue of the film's soundtrack.
Marni Nixon had dubbed Natalie Wood's singing voice in West Side Story the previous year, but Wood did her own singing in Gypsy. While Wood recorded a separate version of "Little Lamb" for the soundtrack album, in the film she sang the song "live" on the set. Other songs performed live were "Mr. Goldstone, I Love You" and the reprise of "Small World", both sung by Russell (not Kirk).
Film historian Douglas McVay observed in his book The Musical Film, "Fine as West Side Story is, though, it is equaled and, arguably, surpassed - in a rather different idiom - by another filmed Broadway hit: Mervyn LeRoy’s Gypsy. Arthur Laurents' book (for) West Side Story (adapted for the screen by Ernest Lehman), though largely craftsmanlike, falls short of his libretto for Gypsy (scripted on celluloid by Leonard Spigelgass), based on the memoirs of the transatlantic stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. The dialogue and situations in Gypsy have more wit, bite and emotional range, and the characterizations are more complex.
Variety noted, "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 interesting to watch [Natalie Wood] ... 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."
Gypsy was a financial success. Produced on a budget of $4 million, the film grossed $11,076,923 at the box office, earning $6 million in US theatrical rentals. It was the 9th highest-grossing film of 1962.
The film was nominated for 3 Academy Awards:
Rosalind Russell won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, her second consecutive win in this category; she won the previous year for A Majority of One. Additional nominations included:
Leonard Spigelgass was nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
The Region 2 DVD was released on December 6, 2006. The film is in fullscreen format with audio tracks in French and English and subtitles in French.
Gypsy is one of six films included in the box set The Natalie Wood Collection released on February 3, 2009.
Gypsy is a 1993 American made-for-television musical comedy-drama film directed by Emile Ardolino. The teleplay by Arthur Laurents is an adaptation of his book of the 1959 stage musical Gypsy, which was based on Gypsy: A Memoir by Gypsy Rose Lee.Gypsy Rose Lee's son, Erik Lee Preminger, was instrumental in getting the film in production and was the main source for research. He had tried to get the musical filmed with Bette Midler, who had always wanted to play Rose, in the principal role 10 years earlier, but it required the approval of five entities to obtain the rights. One of the obstacles had been Arthur Laurents himself, who wrote the book for the musical based on Lee's memoirs. He had hated the 1962 film version and was initially opposed to a remake. "Not for all the money in the world will we let them make another film version of Gypsy," he had said.The film was originally broadcast by CBS on December 12, 1993, and then released in theaters in foreign markets. It has been released on home video multiple times.
Director Ardolino died of AIDS three weeks before the film was broadcast.Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Joshua Sondheim (; born March 22, 1930) is an American composer and lyricist known for more than a half-century of contributions to musical theatre. Sondheim has received an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards (more than any other composer, including a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre), eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has been described by Frank Rich of The New York Times as "now the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theater". His best-known works as composer and lyricist include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Into the Woods (1987), Assassins (1990), and Passion (1994). He also wrote the lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959).
Sondheim has written film music, contributing "Goodbye for Now" for Warren Beatty's 1981 Reds. He wrote five songs for 1990's Dick Tracy, including "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)" by Madonna, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Sondheim was president of the Dramatists Guild from 1973 to 1981. To celebrate his 80th birthday, the former Henry Miller's Theatre was renamed the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on September 15, 2010, and the BBC Proms held a concert in his honor. Cameron Mackintosh has called Sondheim "possibly the greatest lyricist ever".