Gypsy (1993 film)

Promotional poster
Based onGypsy: A Musical Fable
by Arthur Laurents
Screenplay byArthur Laurents
Directed byEmile Ardolino
StarringBette Midler
Cynthia Gibb
Peter Riegert
Jennifer Rae Beck
Edward Asner
Music byJule Styne (Score)
Stephen Sondheim (Lyrics)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Bonnie Bruckheimer
Robert Halmi Sr.
Neil Meron
Craig Zadan
Producer(s)Emile Ardolino
Cindy Gilmore
Bob Weber
Production location(s)Orpheum Theater - 842 S. Broadway, Downtown, Los Angeles
CinematographyRalf Bode
Editor(s)William H. Reynolds
L. James Langlois
Running time153 minutes[1]
Production company(s)Storyline Entertainment
All Girl Productions
RHI Entertainment
Original networkCBS
Original releaseDecember 12, 1993 (1993-12-12)

Gypsy is a 1993 American made-for-television musical comedy-drama film directed by Emile Ardolino. The teleplay by Arthur Laurents is an adaptation of his book of the 1959 stage musical Gypsy, which was based on Gypsy: A Memoir by Gypsy Rose Lee.[2]

Gypsy Rose Lee's son, Erik Lee Preminger, was instrumental in getting the film in production and was the main source for research. He had tried to get the musical filmed with Bette Midler, who had always wanted to play Rose,[3] in the principal role 10 years earlier, but it required the approval of five entities to obtain the rights. One of the obstacles had been Arthur Laurents himself, who wrote the book for the musical based on Lee's memoirs. He had hated the 1962 film version and was initially opposed to a remake.[4] "Not for all the money in the world will we let them make another film version of Gypsy," he had said.[2]

The film was originally broadcast by CBS on December 12, 1993, and then released in theaters in foreign markets. It has been released on home video multiple times.

Director Ardolino died of AIDS three weeks before the film was broadcast.[5]


Determined to make her young, blonde, and beautiful daughter, June, a vaudeville headliner, willful, resourceful, domineering stage mother Rose Hovick will stop at nothing to achieve her goal. She drags June and her shy, awkward, and decidedly less-talented older sister, Louise, around the country in an effort to get them noticed, and with the assistance of agent Herbie Sommers, she manages to secure them bookings on the prestigious Orpheum Circuit.

Years pass, and the girls no longer are young enough to pull off the childlike personae their mother insists they continue to project. June rebels, and elopes with Tulsa, one of the dancers who backs the act. Devastated by what she considers an act of betrayal, Rose pours all her energies into making a success of Louise, despite the young woman's obvious lack of singing and dancing skills. Not helping matters is the increasing popularity of sound films, which leads to a decline in the demand for stage entertainment. With bookings scarce, mother and daughter find themselves in Wichita, Kansas, where the owner of a third-rate burlesque house offers Louise a job.

When one of the strippers is arrested for shoplifting, Louise unwillingly becomes her replacement. At first, her voice is shaky, and her moves tentative at best, but as audiences respond to her, she begins to gain confidence in herself. She blossoms as an entertainer billed as Gypsy Rose Lee, and eventually reaches a point where she tires of her mother's constant interference in both her life and wildly successful career. Louise confronts Rose and demands she leave her alone. Finally, aware that she has spent her life enslaved by a desperate need to be noticed, an angry, bitter, and bewildered Rose stumbles onto the empty stage of the deserted theater and experiences a moment of truth that leads to an emotional breakdown followed by a reconciliation with Louise.

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