Lila Green is an insecure and aging showgirl for Madame Olga's stage shows. When her boyfriend, Rick, runs off with the shows money, Madame Olga and Ronny let Lila go. Lila goes to stay with her old neighbors, Helen Bard and her teenage son, Kenny. Lila decides to go out and get a regular job and try and live a normal life. All seem well until, Lila and Kenny stop fighting their attraction for one another
The role of Lila, washed-up showgirl of the title, was originally intended for Marilyn Monroe, who was replaced by Joanne Woodward when negotiations fell through. The ironic opening sequence has the bleached blonde title character, upon her arrival in Hollywood, being mistaken for Jayne Mansfield by a tourist.
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.
|Mis-identified as a Marilyn Monroe sketch, Woodward poses with Gypsy Rose Lee|
wearing one of Travilla's creeations.
For her role in The Stripper also known under the working title The Woman in July, 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."
|Another "mistaken Marilyn" sketch minus sleeves worn by Woodward.|
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.