GYPSY (1962) 55th Anniversary Screening
With Carla Malden, Daughter of Karl Malden In-person
Tuesday, September 12, at 7:00 PM at the Laemmle Royal
Presented on Blu-ray. Click here for tickets.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present a 55th anniversary screening of GYPSY, the 1962 film adaptation of one of the masterworks of the American musical theater, with its triumphant Stephen Sondheim-Jule Styne score.
The film version stars Natalie Wood as burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee, Rosalind Russell as Momma Rose, the ultimate stage mother, and Karl Malden.
The screening takes place on September 12, 7:00 pm at the Royal theatre in West LA, with guest Carla Malden, daughter of Karl Malden, and co-author of his memoir, When Do I Start?
In 1962 Natalie Wood was at the peak of her career, having been Oscar nominated as Best Actress for Splendor in the Grass (1961) and co-starring in that year’s Best Picture, West Side Story, when she was cast to portray the queen of the striptease, Gypsy Rose Lee. Rosalind Russell was cast as Momma Rose by Jack L. Warner, who bought the film rights, and the vibrant star of Auntie Mame took considerable critical heat for displacing Broadway legend Ethel Merman in the role. Malden’s part was built up for the Oscar-winning actor, and he doubled as Uncle Jocko and boyfriend-manager Herbie in the film. Other alterations included the trimming of one song, but these slight modifications did not detract from the success of the film.
Written for the screen by Leonard Spiegelgass from Arthur Laurents’ libretto, and directed by Mervyn Leroy, (Little Caesar, I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, and co-producer The Wizard of Oz), Gypsy remains a faithful, brassy celluloid version of one of the greatest musicals ever staged.
The public didn’t seem to miss Merman, as the movie was a box office smash. Critics were divided at the time, but veteran scribe Joe Baltake (Philadelphia Daily News, Sacramento Bee) later wrote that Russell, “whose line readings are flawless …fleshed out the character of Rose as no one else ever has.” And as noted by Leonard Maltin, “(You) can’t lose with that Stephen Sondheim-Jule Styne score.” Nominated for 3 Academy Awards (Cinematography, Costume Design and Music Scoring).
Gypsy will screen Tuesday, September 12 at 7:00 pm at the Royal; Q&A with Carla Malden who will reminisce about her father and the making of the film, accompanied by a rare showing of the musical number cut from the film, after the screening.