Rosalind Russell stars as Rose Hovik, the ferocious stage mother of two daughters in the age of vaudeville. Her youngest daughter, June, was a talented singer and dancer from an early age while the older girl, Louise, was rather clumsy. Rose dragged the kids around the country for performances in the rapidly dwindling vaudeville theatres with the help of friend and manager Herbie (Karl Malden). When June grew frustrated with the act and left, Louise became the star and, quite by accident, the queen of burlesque.
Rosalind Russell is a force to be reckoned with as the brash, indomitable Rose. She sings many memorable songs and runs the gamut from slapstick humor to heartbreaking tragedy. Karl Malden is wonderfully sympathetic as Herbie, the man who loved Rose. Natalie Wood is lovely as the adult Louise who, as Gypsy Rose Lee, enjoyed a career as a famous stripper and acted in some movies.
The sets are often stagy but there are terrific performances and spirited, singable songs. It's raucous and glamorous; highly recommended.