Gypsy (1962) (NTSC)

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Released 1-Apr-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Theatrical Trailer
Deleted Scenes-"Together Wherever We Go
Deleted Scenes-"You'll Never Get Away From Me" (duet version)
Listing-Cast & Crew
Awards-Listing
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1962
Running Time 143:03
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (79:30) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By Mervyn Leroy
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Natalie Wood
Rosalind Russell
Karl Malden
Ann Jillian
Paul Wallace
Faith Dane
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Stephen Sondheim
Jule Styne


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

"If I could've been, I would've been. That's show business."

    In 1962, director Mervyn Leroy brought to the silver screen the film version of the long-running smash Broadway stage musical Gypsy. It is the story of late-blooming stripper Gypsy Rose Lee (Natalie Wood), or Louise Hovick as she was known to those who knew her off stage. The stage production and this film were both based on the real Gypsy Rose Lee's memoirs. With music provided by Jule Styne and lyrics by the renowned Stephen Sondheim, the story is driven mostly not by Gypsy Rose, but by her mother Mama Rose Hovick (Rosalind Russell in her Golden Globe winning role).

    Mama Rose is every stage child's worst nightmare. Not able to live out her own dream of appearing on stage, she pushes and prods her two daughters, June (Ann Jilliann) ,otherwise forever known as Dainty June, a young blonde full of talent, and Louise, a tomboy who is support act to the star-in-the-making. Louise readily admits that she has no talent, which is just as well, as her show-biz savvy mother is always reminding her anyway. As a measure of her talent and abilities, Louise regularly gets to perform inside a cow costume. 'At least she is the front' says her mother.

    The girls are forever paraded around vaudeville auditions, hoping for that one big break. Unfortunately, vaudeville is just about on its last legs, squeezed out of the entertainment industry by the advent of sound in the cinema and the popularity of the burlesque style of variety show which included the always popular striptease act. When Mama Rose meets Herbie Sommers (Karl Malden), a veteran of the circuit and someone who has a list of credible contacts, she sees a chance to get her girls and her act promoted among Herbie's list of impressive friends in the industry. Herbie just happens to also fall for the charms of the ebullient Rose and attempts to win her hand, but with her focus first and foremost on her daughters, and three failed marriages in the past already, Rose is playing a little hard to get.

    What follows is a set of humorous scenes and musical numbers as the group travel around the country, plying their trade to small theatres, always hoping for that big break. The break finally comes (for Louise anyway), but not in the traditional area that Rose had hoped for. The conflict between doting and ambitious mother and the increasingly confident beauty that is now blossoming in Louise is what rounds out the story.

    There are not as many memorable musical numbers in this production as I would have liked. A good musical needs songs that you can listen to again and again, but they are just not present in this film. Songs like Let Me Entertain You and Everything's Coming Up Roses are good, but the rest lack that special something. The production design is excellent, with gaudy theatres and lots of background happenings, but as a musical I was a little disappointed.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a really nice transfer filled with bold and dazzling colours, and despite the NTSC tag (which means you will need a suitable display device to view it) there is really nothing in it to give away that it isn't a native PAL transfer. Presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer also features 16x9 enhancement. This is the perfect aspect ratio to capture many of the gaudy sets and lovely interiors of some of the theatres the troupe plays in.

    Overall it is sharp enough, with only a few scenes wandering into what could be called 'softer' territory. There is a tiny little bit of edge enhancement scattered here and there, but overall I was happy with the level of detail. There is not an ounce of grain anywhere which is a big surprise. I really did expect to see plenty. There is also no low level noise.

    The highlight of this transfer are of course the colours. All vaudeville acts would have wanted to look like this in their heyday. Courtesy of the Technicolor process, the colours are extremely vibrant, bold and very well saturated. There is an odd tendency for the colours to vary their hue on occasion. Just mildly, but enough to see the odd shade of blue waver in their saturation here and there. Other than that small quibble, the other colours displayed are superb, with vibrant reds, blues, and greens all round with no evidence of any oversaturation or bleeding. Very, very nice indeed.

    There are no visible compression artefacts. Film to video artefacts are limited to a little obvious 3:2 pulldown, but with not a whole lot of sideways camera movement, it doesn't become as noticeable as some NTSC titles I have viewed. On the other hand, film artefacts should be present in abundance, but in this magnificently restored image they have been virtually eliminated. There are probably a dozen or so very small ones still scattered throughout the transfer.

    Being a virtual copy of the North American Region 1 release, we get subtitles normally found in that region. French and English are the choices. I sampled the English variety for much of the film and found them well placed on screen, easily read and with only a few minor abridgements.

    This is a dual layered disc with RSDL formatting. The layer change occurs at 79:30, and is excellently placed, with Natalie Wood's character not moving or speaking just as the change occurs. Nice placement.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    I wasn't quite as impressed with the audio as I was with the video. There is only one audio soundtrack available for your listening pleasure. It is a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, but it really is a 3.1 as I can't recall any noticeable rear channel use. Even separation across the front channels appears a little weak during the musical numbers where the soundstage opens up to its widest. Other than that, the dialogue has a tendency to appear a little too bright and flat, possibly betraying the mono origins of the film.

    There are no audio sync problems.

    Any musical is carried by its score, and this is the area of the film that I found the most lacking. The score was composed by Jule Styne with lyrics by the renowned Stephen Sondheim. None of the songs, other than perhaps the main theme - Let Me Entertain You - are particularly memorable.

    There is virtually no surround channel use. The subwoofer kicks in on occasion, but this is also extremely limited in its use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer

    A traditionally bombastic 1960s style trailer, clocking in at a massive 3:41 minutes. It is presented in the correct aspect ratio of 2.35:1, but is not enhanced for 16x9 televisions.

Deleted Scenes

    The duet version of You'll Never Get Away From Me and Together Wherever We Go were deleted prior to the theatrical release of Gypsy. They were thought to have been lost forever until they were discovered just recently on a 16mm print. The quality is very average. Running times are 3:41 and 2:44 minutes respectively. I think this is the only time in the film that Karl Malden sings.

Listing-Cast & Crew

    One static screen that list the cast and a couple of the crew.

Awards

    One static screen simply listing the Golden Globe award for Best Actress (Comedy or Musical) that Rosalind Russell won for her role as Mama Rose.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    No real comparison needed here, since this NTSC Region 4 release is obviously the exact replica of its Region 1. The English and French only subtitles are the giveaway. A draw, but pick it up wherever you are able to get it cheapest.

Summary

    Gypsy is an interesting tale and the acting is really certainly the highlight, especially the roles played by Golden Globe winner Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood, but as a musical it is a bit of a let down. The songs are the key to any good musical. They must be engaging, catchy, and worthy of listening to several times. Unfortunately, that is not the case here with most of the numbers being a little bland.

    Ignore the usual negative connotations associated with this being an NTSC transfer, as this video transfer is really quite excellent, with a superb colour scheme and almost no film artefacts.

    The audio is a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack which features very little surround activity and is a little lacking in any real dynamics.

    The extras are limited, but the long-lost deleted scenes are certainly a bonus.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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