Bombshell on the Box – Natalie Alert!
GYPSY, TCM, Fri Feb 12, 5.15pm
Here’s a fun musical to kick-start your Friday night! Beautiful bombshell Natalie Wood at first does seem slightly miscast as America’s first striptease artist, and an inspiration to our modern-day bombshell of the week, Dita Von Teese, Gypsy Rose Lee, but she brings a deeper mystique to the character.
Gypsy Rose Lee is actually Louise, youngest daughter of the pushiest mom in town, Mama Rose, played brilliantly by Rosalind Russell. The mother/daughter relationship driving the story line has rarely been done better, thanks to Wood’s thoughtful intensity and Russell’s dominating charisma. Rather than playing a stripper as obviously bawdy, Wood’s performance is understated and graceful as Louise rises in fame while vaudeville dies. There are some fun and fictional stripping numbers including ‘You Gotta Have a Gimmick’ and ‘Let Me Entertain You.’
The costumes are beautiful, and gained a deserved Oscar nomination for Orry Kelly, who, in his two decades at Warners, clothed bombshells like Bette Davis and Ann Sheridan, and won an Oscar for Some Like It Hot, with, of course, Marilyn Monroe – much more about her next week on BB!