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Laramie Movie Scope:

Musical comedy with more tease than strip: all in all, disappointing

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by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
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(1962) Some people just gotta be noticed. I watched this musical comedy, based on Gypsy Rose Lee's memoirs and the Broadway play, directed by Mervyn LeRoy - book by Arthur Laurents with score from Jule Styne (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) - to see 24-year-old Natalie Wood as Gypsy.

However, it's mostly about Gypsy's domineering mother Rose Hovick (Rosalind Russell), a pushy stage mom ("I had a dream") with three ex-husbands, who leads on candy salesman Herbie Somers (Karl Malden), formerly in show biz for 20 years as Uncle Jocko (who likes children and their mothers), for his vaudeville connections, always promising to marry him as an encore to the next act.

On the road with her two daughters, Louise (taking the front of Caroline the cow - "I don't have any talent") and younger June (the child star), Rose with Herbie's help takes Baby June and the Newsboys on the vaudeville circuit until the Depression and movies put an end to the once-popular entertainment.

Lead male dancer Tulsa and the other boys (having become young men) quit, and June elopes with Jerry. (I'd like to know what happened to June afterward.) Nevertheless, Rose sings, "Everything's comin' up roses for me and for you," to Louise.

With one more attempt at making a go of it with Rose Louise and her Hollywood Blondes, the indefatigable mother gets a booking with a burlesque house in Wichita ("the act that keeps the cops out") where by accident Louise becomes Gypsy Rose Lee, the greatest striptease artist - "Let me entertain you!" - of her time.

However, very little - a glove here, a dropped shoulder strap there, revealing finally a glittery brief costume - actually comes off: more tease than strip. All in all, disappointing.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2009 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)