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Gypsy


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I just saw the Baby Peggy Documentary and am amazed at how her sister's and her lives paralleled those of Rose and June as portrayed in this movie. Fortunately, Peggy found an anchor and was able to get past her horrid experiences and find happiness and peace. Sadly, I know "Gypsy Rose Lee" had her share of troubles throughout her life Truth really is stranger than fiction.

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Well I was going to post the same thing! As for if Merman should of been cast in the role. To me that is down right silly. If that was done the odds are that the movie would of been a flop; i.e. NOT been 14 as big at the box office as a movie staring Woods, who was a hot commodity (in more ways than one), at the time.

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I stumbled onto *Belle of the Yukon* today and got to see the real Gypsy Rose Lee in action as well as a young Dinah Shore. She bore a strong resemblance to blonde sister June Havoc and was quite good in a comedic role. The difference between Natalie Wood and her was size; Natalie was a slim girl of about average height while Gypsy was buxom and nearly as tall as tall as Randolph Scott. I think she was much more than an "exotic dancer".

 

While *Gypsy* was based on her writings, June also wrote her story, *Early Havoc,* which I read years ago as did a classmate who used it for a book report. It was public school so she didn't get any flack.

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I love the film of Gypsy. I remember being annoyed, as a kid, that The Music Man won the best adapted score Oscar over Gypsy. Among its other nominations was color cinematography, but I guess it was understandable that Lawrence of Arabia won.

 

Rosalind Russell was terrific as Mama Rose, although most of her singing was dubbed by Lisa Kirk, Russell was a better actress than Merman, I think. Merman had a voice -- but you don't need a belter in a movie.

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This is why I like seeing films on the big screen-you see things like that ALL the time. (and yes, I knew that Merman pic was there)

 

Another reason to enjoy big home theater TVs, it enlarges the picture enough to enjoy the set directors work. And there's all kinds of treasures thrown in....keep looking!

 

One of my favorites is the oft-watched It's A Wonderful Life. The pictures that migrate from the Bailey parents home to George & Mary's home, and the pin-up girl on the employee side of the post in the bank.

 

Most commonly spotted is studio publicity photos or props previously used in other films. Tributes, like the Merman one, can be found in lots of other films....but I'm no encyclopedia.

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But I think that's the point. You can dub anyone's singing voice in the movies, but you need them to ACT well. Merman was never a very good actress -- listen to her in some of her films, she speaks in a monotone; Russell was a great actress.

 

Relatively few of the actresses who created musical roles on Broadway got to play the role in the movies. Carol Channing (sadly) did not star in the film of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes or Hello Dolly, Julie Andrews did not star in the film of My Fair Lady, Mary Martin did not star in the film of The Sound of Music. It wasn't until Barbra Streisand starred in the film of Funny Girl that the tide changed a bit in favor of the original Broadway star. And some of the great movie stars who did get the gigs were dubbed: Deborah Kerr in The King and I; Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady.

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Actually, I was very young at that time, but I don't think Merman was any more associated with the role than some of the other ladies were with their roles. Merman didn't even win the Tony Award -- Mary Martin did that year, for The Sound of Music. Alot of Gypsy's popularity came later on; when it opened, although it got some good reviews, it was just another good musical, in the golden age of Broadway musicals. The first (and only) time I saw it on stage was in London in 1973 or 4, with Angela Lansbury, who was very good as Mama Rose.

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> {quote:title=Swithin wrote:}{quote}Actually, I was very young at that time, but I don't think Merman was any more associated with the role than some of the other ladies were with their roles.

 

 

I have to disagree with you again. Merman is completyely associated with this role. When an older fan hears, "You'll be swell...you'll be great...", their minds go to Merman belting it out. Even as late as the Airplane! movie:

 

 

 

Here she is on a Tony Awards show, in one of her last appearances

 

 

 

No one who has followed her in the role has marked the role as theirs as much as she has.

 

Angela Lansbury

Tyne Daly

Bette Midler

Bernadette Peters

Patti LuPone

 

ROSE is hers and likely always will be.

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Well, I agree with you to a point, but I still don't think she was a good enough actress to do the film. However when I was a very young teen, I was a volunteer for the Lindsay for Mayor campaign here in NYC (1965). Merman was a big supporter. I still have my "Lindsay Record," a recording of Merman singing, "Poor old New York, it used to be great, voters; in 1908 voters..." leading to "With Lindsay it's coming up roses!"

 

I think to some extent, she's more associated with that song than with the role itself.

 

 

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While one can feel for Merman for not getting the role, this is fairly typical in the movie industry, even when a part calls for singing. e.g. My Fair Lady. Of course in that specific case Andrews proved to be a very good actress (the irony of winning the oscar that year!) but producers cannot be faulted for going with an actress with the stature of Russell, especially after her Auntie Mame role a few years before, instead of Merman.

 

To me the combination of Russell and Wood works, and of course they were a lot more marketable (even if the film didn't do well at the box office). Does anyone know who plays the daughter role with Merman in the play? One could say she was cheated as well.

 

 

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And of course no matter who plays Auntie Mame, the role will always belong to Rosalind Russell, as will the role of Ruth in Wonderful Town.

 

The thing about Gypsy, though, was that, although it was a hit, it was not as big a hit as it is remembered to be, in retrospect. Alot of its fame came later. Despite many nominations, it won no Tony Awards. It ran for a respectable 702 performances, about the same as L'il Abner, and fewer than the roughly contemporary Fiorello and Bells Are Ringing. And, to quote the famous line from the latter show, "Mary and Ethel who?" Mary was Mary Martin, whose show, The Sound of Music, dwarfed Gypsy and every other musical that season.

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