He-man director Mervyn LeRoy, better known for his crime and actioners, proves to be the wrong director in adapting to the big screen this landmark of a stage musical, based on music and lyrics by Jule Style and Stephen Sondheim.
As the stage mother to end all stage mothers, Rosalind Russell, essaying the role that the legendary Ethel Merman had played on Broadway, is no more than decent, though she can't sing much; most of her vocal numbers are dubbed by Lisa Kirk. Karl Malden acquits himself more honorably as Herbie, her faithful manager.
Natalie Wood plays Louise, the daughter who was perceived as no talent and then went on to become the famous stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, whereas Ann Jillian plays her sister June.
In 1962, the film was considered both artistic and commercial disappointment, but over the years, Russelll's work has grown in stature.
Oscar Nominations: 3
Cinematography (Color): Harry Stradling
Scoring of Music (Adapted): Frank Perkins
Costume Design (Color); Orry-Kelly
In 1962, the Cinematography Oscar was won by Freddie Young for the David Lean epic, "Lawrence of Arabia," whish swept most of the awards, including Best Picture and Director. Ray Heindorf won the Scoring Oscar for another Broadway adaptation, "The Music Man," and Mary Wills received the Costume Design Oscar for "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Griumm."