MovieChat Forums > Gypsy (1962) Discussion > Roz's Rose dubbed after filming?

Roz's Rose dubbed after filming?


Does anyone know how the dubbing process went for this film? Did Rosalind Russell mouth the words to Lisa Kirk's vocals, or did Ms. Kirk "fill in the blanks" afterward? While watching the film, particularly the "Small World" number, and a good part of "Some People", Ms. Russell's mouthing looks kind of "rubbery"; as if she couldn't quite keep up with the recording. Moreover, in her autobiography, LIFE IS A BANQUET, she states that, "That's Roz, and nobody else as Rose on the soundtrack." It makes me think that Lisa Kirk was brought in after the fact (just as Marni Nixon was for Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady". Ms. Nixon has commented on how difficult it was for her to match Audrey Hepburns already filmed "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" scene...and it DOES come off kind of flakey.) I just wonder if Rosalind Russell was dubbed and didn't know it!?

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Russell certainly knew she was dubbed, but while she had made light of her singing ability (or lack of it) in WONDERFUL TOWN, for some reason it was extremely important to her that people believe she carried off GYPSY without the aid of a voice-double, perhaps because there was so much resentment that she had "stolen" Merman's role. The difference between Russell's voice and Lisa Kirk's becomes painfully evident when you hear Russell's long-unheard "studio tracks" on the soundtrack CD (supposedly tapes of these efforts were found among Ethel Merman's stuff after her death - she apparently took delight in listening to Roz's painful efforts at singing "her" songs!)

"I don't use a pen: I write with a goose quill dipped in venom!"---W. Lydecker

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[deleted]

Some say that Ethel M got a copy of these tracks and played them at parties.

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Some say that Ethel M got a copy of these tracks and played them at parties.




I know it's absolutely awful and malicious but I really can't help hoping that this is true because that is too funny!

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I'm pretty sure Lisa Kirk dubbed her after all of her scenes were shot. They left Roz's voice in for Mr. Goldstone, for some of Rose's Turn and for the reprise of Small World.

This is what I heard too...that Russell's voice was used on some of the numbers. Lisa Kirk did not sing everything.

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It's a bit unfair to point to the Russell tracks, as they obviously are early demo tracks: there is no orchestra and have bare accompaniment. There must be some better versions stuck in a vault somewhere. Marlon Brando's "Luck Be A Lady" from GUYS AND DOLLS is said to have been done one line at a time. The GYPSY demos are complete run throughs, without any applied Hollywood magic. Russell really couldn't "sing" but she COULD "sell" a song. "Mr. Goldstone" and "Rose's Turn" (the 80% that is Roz) prove that.

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However it was done the result is poor and the lipsync is sometimes off.
Partially dubbed by Lisa Kirk. In Rose's Turn it is clearly 2 voices;sometimes Russell talking/croaking and than switches to another frog.

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Lisa Kirk was actually an excellent singer. She had to lower her voice and tone down her natural abilities to sound more believably like Russell. If only they had used Ms. Kirk to dub Lucy's croaking in Mame.

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Actually, there were rumors that Kirk was going to dub Lucy, rumors Lucy squashed on the Merv Griffin show - Lucy herself knew that at that point her voice was so unmistakable that there was no point in trying to fool anyone (even before her voice became so gravelly due to smoking, it was always obvious as soon as the singing began that Lucy was dubbed in such films as TOO MANY GIRLS and THE BIG STREET).

"I don't use a pen: I write with a goose quill dipped in venom!"---W. Lydecker

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[deleted]

As I've mentioned elsewhere, Russell was perfectly willing to downplay her singing ability in WONDERFUL TOWN, even modestly insisting that she tried to convince the producers not to cast her, but for some reason GYPSY was a different story with her - it seemed of great importantance to her that people believe she'd done all her own singing, perhaps feeling it would detract from the overall effectiveness of her performance if they knew she hadn't.

"I don't use a pen: I write with a goose quill dipped in venom!"---W. Lydecker

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[deleted]

The reason why Roz Russell wanted her voice used in "Gypsy" was due to the fact that she wanted the Oscar!

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I think she's pretty good in this, but I really don't think that this is a role that should ever be played by someone who needs to be dubbed. There's so much acting in songs like Everything's Coming up Roses and Rose's Turn that it almost seems wrong to me that someone else would come in and work on them.

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When Fred Brisson (Russell's husband) negotiated with Coco Chanel for the stage musical rights to her life, Chanel agreed on one condition: that Mrs. Brisson NOT be cast as Chanel. So I think the entire Gypsy episode did her more harm than good. (Katharine Hepburn, not exactly a Swedish Nightingale herself, played the role.)

"Footman...shine my shoe. Shine my shoe."

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I know this because I synched all of Roz's vocal tracks to the actual film, and put the clips up on Youtube (search for marknyc5 to see them).

"Some People" fits so perfectly that she must have been singing to her own recording. The others didn't synch up at all - I had to do a lot of work to make them fit. So I'm guessing she sang to her own playback for "Some People," saw how bad the result was, and agreed to sing to Kirk's recordings for the rest of filming. (It would be interesting to look at filming records to see if "Some People" actually was the first number filmed.)

Unlike Natalie in WSS who sang >everything< to her own awful recordings!

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According to the host on AMC or TCM...not sure which one, it was done in the studio, and "mixed". Russell's voice and Kirk's voice were mixed so that it would actually kind of sound like Russell's voice. I was thinking that made sense considering that Russell does have a deep, gravelly voice, and it would be impossible to fake that.



"The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain"

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I've heard too that all the dubbing was done after shooting was finished and Russell had left.

I think it's very possible that Russell would never admit she was dubbed because she didn't realize it. She knew that she did all the singing during filming. She probably just thought the studio sound people made her sound better. Not being all that musical, she probably couldn't pick up on the fact that it's not her voice most of the time.

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I saw Rosalind Russell at the 1970 San Francisco Film Festival and she insisted that all the singing on the "Gypsy" soundtrack was hers. She said a "professional singer," whom she did not name, had done a pre-recording of the final number, "Rose's Turn," but when she heard it she refused to allow it to be used. My own conclusion -- I'm in the middle of a project involving the music of Jule Styne -- is that most, if not all, of the singing on the "Gypsy" soundtrack IS Rosalind Russell and in particular the version of "Rose's Turn" on the soundtrack is hers (the one released on CD as a supposedly previously unissued version; the one they claim was the track from the original album is probably the "professional singer"'s version Russell said had been recorded but not used). This may explain why the song "Together Wherever We Go" was not in the final cut of the film -- the voice in it doesn't match Russell's. For comparison purposes I used the song "One Hundred Easy Ways" from the 1958 album of "Wonderful Town" as a known Russell recording and "Always True to You in My Fashion" from the 1959 album of "Kiss Me, Kate" as a known Lisa Kirk recording -- and to make the whole issue even more confusing, the second voice on the "Gypsy" soundtrack still doesn't sound to me like Lisa Kirk. (Maybe she was deliberately singing below her best to match Russell's speaking voice more closely?) And BTW, I happen to think that both voices on the soundtrack are better than Ethel Merman's: I'm a long-time Merman non-fan who thinks she sacrificed musicianship, intonation and all the other attributes of good singing on the altar of sheer volume -- though at least in "Gypsy" Jule Styne brilliantly covered for her and gave her only notes she could come at least within hailing distance of reaching.

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My own conclusion ... is that most, if not all, of the singing on the "Gypsy" soundtrack IS Rosalind Russell


If you've compared the tracks in the film with the more recently released all-Russell tracks, I cannot imagine how you can conclude it is all or even mostly Russell in the film. It is clear what in the film is Russell (Goldstone, Small World reprise, a lot of Rose's Turn), everything else is Kirk, who is indeed working hard to match Russell's growl.

and in particular the version of "Rose's Turn" on the soundtrack is hers (the one released on CD as a supposedly previously unissued version; the one they claim was the track from the original album is probably the "professional singer"'s version Russell said had been recorded but not used).


Both versions of "Rose's Turn" (the one heard in the film and the one heard on the original vinyl LP, both of which are now available on the CD) are a mix of Russell and Kirk, but the LP version has more Kirk in order to make for more pleasant repeated listening. If you listen carefully, you can hear that the sections that are used in both are identical.

Concerning "Together," if you've listened to the vocals on the deleted scene, you can hear that Russell, Malden and Wood all singing for themselves sound like a night in Hell itself, and that the brief 32-bars-and-out solo version recorded by Kirk was strictly for inclusion on the LP and could never have been used in the movie.

If it is important to your Jule Styne project to analyze this issue accurately, I urge you to contact some professional people with expert and first-hand knowledge of this project, because I guarantee you that the conclusions that you are stating in your post are erroneous. You don't have to trust my word, there are many experts that are accessible to you, and if you like you can PM me and I'll try to put you in contact with a few. (I wouldn't share your opinions about Merman with them, however.)

EDIT: By the way, Russell was a notorious liar and, when she published her memoirs, alienated some long-term friends and associates, some of whom refused to endorse the book because of the self-aggrandizing inaccuracies it contained.


"Oh look, the neighbors are recording us."

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I hope this helps.
When I lived in L.A., I had a chance to go through the Gypsy productin files at USCC.
Roz was originally dubbed by Fox dubbed Eileen Wilson. Roz filmed to eileens voice.
then it turned out that Eileen had a recording contract with a small record label.
The label would not let Eileens voice appear on the Wrner Bros records LP, hoping to force Jack Warner to have the Gypsy soundtrack appear on their label.

Warner ardered to get another dubber. At this point Roz chimed in with I can do It, etc. and her vocals were dubbed one line at a time to the already recorded songs.
this seemed okay until a test screening where the audience made it clear they hated rozs vocals.
then lisa Kirk redubs one line at a time. She probably would have dubbedin Together Wherever we go, but the song had already been dropped.
Its all Lisas voice on Rose Turn on the LP, but it is a mixture of Lisa and Roz in the film.
One of Natalies vocals is dubbed only on the album - Little Lamb. It was considered good enough while watching Natalie in the film, but as a vocal only experience it was not. So Jackie Allen sings for Natalie on the LP and CD, but not in the film, only on Little Lamb. Just listen to the onle line "oh why do you look so blue?" and you can clearly hear the difference.
I would love to hear the Eileen Wilson vocals - do they even exist?

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just wanted to add on - Have an Eggroll, Mr. Goldstone is Roz, because, for some reason, it was decided to perform that LIVE on set and not prerecord.
go Figure.

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you can hear that Russell, Malden and Wood all singing for themselves sounds like a night in Hell itself...

oh boy : o

Okay, that made me LAUGH!

.

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