By Tony Rizzo
HOLLYWOOD—For decades, the greatest female role has been Mama Rose from the blockbuster Broadway musical “Gypsy.” Created for the great Ethel Merman, Mama Rose was later played in the film version by Rosalind Russell, with the stunning Natalie Wood as “Gypsy.” It’s the story of strip-tease artist Gypsy Rose Lee and her domineering stage mother, Rose. The original production was nominated for eight Tony Awards but didn’t win a single one. Future Mama Roses — Tyne Daly, Angela Lansbury and, most recently, Patti LuPone — all won Tony Awards, while Bernadette Peters received a nomination as best actress. In 1993, Bette Midler received a Golden Globe Award for her TV version of “Gypsy.”
Who could possibly top these great ladies as Mama Rose in the remake? Would you believe Barbra Streisand? When she played Dolly Levi in the film “Hello Dolly,” which is still fun to watch, she was too young for the role. But to play Mama Rose now is a perfect fit. She will be stupendous doing “Rose’s Turn” at the end of the picture, and bring years of experience from the stage and her own stage mother to the role. For now, we’ll have to be content with her next film, “My Mother’s Curse,” which she’ll film this spring, with Seth Rogan playing her son.
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We are protesting the casting of a British actor as “Superman.” Henry Clavill, of the cable show “The Tudors” and the upcoming Greek mythology action film “Immortals,” might look the part, but he’s not from the USA. The Brits would never allow a non-Brit to play James Bond — 007 belongs to England alone. Can we allow a non-American Superman to go “cheerio” and “pip-pip” on us? Vivian Leigh won an Oscar and heaps of praise as Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind,” but that was after an exhaustive search of every actress in America failed to yield the Southern belle. You mean to say there isn’t one actor in the USA who fits the bill as the Man of Steel?
Look out for something new called 4K, a super high-definition digital screen format that puts twice as many pixels on a movie screen. Promoters say theaters have changed and that 4K will allow viewers to sit close to the screen and enjoy the full impact. TV screens keep getting bigger and wider at home, so theaters need to make movies an experience you can’t get at home. How about better movies, scripts and acting? Why isn’t the money going into that instead? Reality shows are driving people into theaters — if you build a better film, they will come!
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© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.