The Stripper (1963) is a drama film about a struggling, aging actress turned stripper and the people she knows, played by Joanne Woodward. It is based on the play A Loss of Roses by William Inge.
This was the feature film debut of director Franklin J. Schaffner, and co-starred Carol Lynley, Robert Webber, and Richard Beymer. Also appearing as Madame Olga was real-life stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. It was the first Schaffner film to feature a score by prolific composer Jerry Goldsmith, who would later work with Schaffner on such films as Planet of the Apes, Patton, Papillon, and The Boys from Brazil.
The film was first designed to be a vehicle for two Fox contract stars, Marilyn Monroe and Pat Boone. Monroe had been considered for the part as early as 1961 co-starring opposite Pat Boone who turned the part down as his strong religious beliefs nor did he feel his fans would be comfortable with him in such a role. Monroe’s death had nothing to do with Woodward being cast in the film. In fact, the April 28, 1962 Los Angeles Times listed The Stripper as one of four films in production at the studio, including Monroe’s Something’s Got to Give. In fact, Woodward would perform the song Something’s Got to Give in the film.
For her role in The Stripper also known under the working title The Woman in July, William Travilla dressed Woodward in silk and other sheer fabrics that reveal her body movement. But as Joanne’s breast were small, they created “breast cards” that glued to her body and gave the illusion of a fuller figure. “I called in the studio sculptor to make some plaster casts of Joanne’s body. From these, they made another form and created several sets of clay breasts until I gave my approval…..nothing too much, just beautiful breasts that scoop up and move.” From that, thin foam pads were created and glued daily to the actress’ body. “It was a tribute to Joanne as an actress that she went through all this for the role.” Travilla was nominated for his last Academy Award for Costume Design in a black and white film, losing to Piero Gherardi for 8 1/2.