Lady of Burlesque (1943): Wellman’s Backstage Musical Mystery, Starring Stanwyck

William A. Wellman directed Lady of Burlesque (aka The G-String Murders), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Michael O’Shea, based on the novel The G-String Murders by stripper Gypsy Rose Lee.

The backstage plot concerns the murder of two strippers of a New York City burlesque theatre and the detection of the killer.

The movie was sanitized adaptation of the original novel, which was racier and edgier.

Stanwyck plays as Deborah Hoople, aka Dixie Daisy, Gypsy Rose Lee’s character in her own book, and Michael O’Shea is Biff Brannigan, her romantic interest.

The film depicted as much as censors would allow about the nature of “bumps & grinds” and the slapdash nature of burlesque shows.

Stanwyck gets to display her shapely body and to sing “Take It Off the E String, Play It on the G String.”

Oscar Context:

The movie was nominated for Best Music Score Oscar, but didn’t win.

Produced by Hunt Stromberg, this feature grossed a respectable $1.85 million on its initial release, earning a profit of $650,000.



Release date: May 1, 1943

Running time: 91 Minutes

End note:

TCM showed this movie on May 3, 2019.