Calamity Jane Reviews
But, there's an Oscar winning song you might want to see, try and guess.
Doris Day plays Calamity Jane, a rough, tough, sharp-shooting woman who shoots out the town of Deadwood, which is a town with 99% males. When the town theater is losing female actresses, Jane vows to go down to "Chicagee" and claim acclaimed singer and actress Adelaide Adams (Gale Robbins), but due to a case of mistaken identity, she ends up with her maid Katie (Allyn Ann McLerie) instead. Katie proves to be a hit, and thanks to Katie, Calamity decides to act like a lady. Calamity has a crush on Lt. Danny Gilmartin (Philip Carey), but Wild Bill Hickok (Howard Keel) has a crush on Calamity. Love, jealousy, and heartbreak ensues.
Calamity Jane has had a bad rep over the years of its release. A few years before the film was released, MGM made Annie Get Your Gun, about similar tough shooter Annie Oakley. WB, inspired by Annie's success, made Calamity Jane as a response. They even brought Howard Keel, who was in Annie Get Your Gun, to star in Calamity Jane. Because of this, many accused Calamity Jane to be a rip-off of Annie Get You Gun. As for me, I can't make opinions, cause I've never seen Annie Get Your Gun. Calamity Jane, on the other hand, is a fun, entertaining, and memorable musical film.
Doris Day is delightful as Calamity Jane. She's beautiful, especially when her character becomes more ladylike, she can sing like a bird, and her personality on screen doesn't bore. Howard Keel, a year before he blessed women's beautiful hides in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, is memorable as Wild Bill Hickok. He's funny, attractive in women's perspectives, and has a fantastic chemistry with Day. I enjoyed Allyn Ann McLerie as Katie Brown, but the biggest problem with her is her singing. When she sings, it sounds like someone escaped from a hanging but the neck still felt the impact. It's that bad. Philip Carey was memorable as Danny the Lt.
Calamity Jane also delighted me in the humor department. Day's western accent is convincing, but sometimes, it's occasionally funny. Her pronunciations on Chicago ("chicagee"), cigarettes ("cigareetes"), and sarsaparille ('sarsaparilla") are quite funny. The Francis Fryer character, played by Dick Wesson, is also memorable and hilarious, especially when he dresses as a woman cause the stage believed Francis to be a woman. I'm guessing this scene inspired Some Like It Hot.
Since Calamity Jane is a musical, you can't review a musical without mentioning the musical numbers. For the most part, the songs are pretty enjoyable. Day opens the film with "The Deadwood Stage", which features some cheesy lyrics, but her singing made up for it. Day and Keel sing "I Can Do Without You", which is a fun duet. McLerie, as Katie Brown, sings "Keep it Under Your Hat" and "Harry", which fails due to her poor singing abilities. Where's Julie Andrews when you need her? Howard Keel delights with his deep tenor voice with "Higher Than a Hawk." Day and the awful McLerie duet in "A Woman's Touch", which is OK at best. The entire cast sings "Take Me Back to the Black Hills" which is pretty catchy. Day also delights in the catchy "The Windy City". But the best song of all? Doris Day singing the Oscar-winning ballad "Secret Love", a beautiful, powerful, and wonderfully written song which became a huge hit for Day.
There were some occasional corny moments, and Allyn Ann McLerie was a poor singer, but Howard Keel and Doris Day make up for it, and Calamity Jane is a fun musical. Now I need to find Annie Get Your Gun and see if Calamity Jane is really a rip-off.