Gypsy Rose Lee and Film


The 1943 film The Lady of Burlesque starring Barbara Stanwyck was based on the book The G- String Murders by Gypsy Rose Lee. The G- String Murders about a lower working class girl who achieves success through burlesque, but also gets entangled in a police mystery. The signifigance of The G- String Murders is that Lee extended her talents to more than a burlesque dancer, instead she became a literary figure in history within film and her own creative works after the publication of The G- String Murders and other books and articles that came afterwards.
(Striptease the Untold History of the Girlie Show, 221)

Gypsy directed by Jerome Roberts in 1962, is a Mervyn Leroy Production starring Rosalind Russell as Rose Havoc, the over ambitious stage mother of “Dainty June” and “Gypsy Rose Lee”. Natalie Wood plays the lead as “Gypsy”, also known as Louise, and depicts the history of the Vaudeville circuit to its eventual demise in the 1930’s. Old fashioned vaudeville gives way for more modern burlesque that’s quickly becoming something different from the form of entertainment that Rose knew of in the past. This movie is based on the book “Gypsy” by Arthur Laurents, but Gypsy Rose Lee wrote her autobiography in 1959. "Gypsy" takes an honest look at the world of vaudeville, and takes the step into burlesque at the start of its height. Instead of depicting the dancers as scandalous strippers, "Gypsy" shows that a burlesque dancer is human and makes the career choice for a specific reason. Therefore, becoming a burlesque dancer isn't something to be ashamed of, but it's a completely valid move to get somewhere in the world; despite what society and the media believe.


In this part of the film the troupe is complete with “Gypsy”, “Dainty June” and a group of boys as backup, all dancing and performing, just as they have for years. The scene goes into the hotel where the group is staying and there’s a birthday being celebrated. It's interesting to see that time was irrelevant for the group. The act was the same and the only thing to change in years was the size of the performers. This clip provides the viewer with some information about what "Gypsy" is all about, but not enough to give anything important away.

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