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The Paleface

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The Paleface (1948) starring Bob Hope, Jane Russell
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The Paleface (1948) starring Bob Hope, Jane Russell

The Paleface is a classic comedy, set in the Old West, starring Bob Hope and Jane Russell. She’s working undercover to stop a gun smuggling operation. And he’s the witless dentist she marries as her cover. But then she begins to fall in love with him …

Product Description of The Paleface

The Wild West has never been wilder or funnier than in this classic farce which introduced the Academy Award-winning song “Buttons and Bows.” In one of his most popular roles, comedy legend Bob Hope (My Favorite Brunette, Road to Morocco) plays “Painless” Peter Potter, a timid correspondence school dentist earning a shaky living in the lawless West. When “Painless” is seduced into agreeing to a quickie marriage by the voluptuous Jane Russell (The Outlaw), he thinks his luck has changed. Little does he suspect that Russell is actually sharpshooter Calamity Jane, hot on the trail of a dangerous renegade gang and that she is simply using “Painless” as her cover and unwitting dupe!

Jane Russell and Bob Hope in "The Paleface"

This Old West burlesque, brightened by Technicolor and uproarious slapstick, went on to become one of Bob Hope’s best-loved films and his biggest box-office hit. Directed by Norman Z. McLeod (My Favorite Spy, Alias Jesse James) and co-starring Robert Armstrong (King Kong). In 1952, Hope and Russell returned for the sequel Son of Paleface, co-starring cowboy legend Roy Rogers and his trusty horse Trigger.

Comedy highlights

Jane Russell as Calamity Jane
  • Jane Russell proposing to Bob Hope — after knocking him out cold!
  • The wedding night in a cabin — after Bob Hope got the wagon train lost. And a Native American sneaks into their room, unknown to Bob. Who mistakes him for his wife! And gets knocked out again.
  • Indian attack at the cabin while Bob Hope’s locked outside
  • Jane Russell shoots & kills the attacking Indians, letting Painless Potter — and the others — think its him. The central premise of the movie.
    • And accidentally shooting an Indian out of a tree with his rifle over his shoulder
  • Painless Potter strutting in the Saloon like a peacock. Not realizing that Pepper’s setting him up to be killed.
  • The shootout with Big Joe — and Painless trying to keep in mind all of the “helpful hints” the people in the saloon give him!
  • Jane Russell punching Pepper after the fight.
  • Painless in the coroner’s office, looking for the dynamite. And hiding as one of the corpses! Then a black cat sneaks under his cover and starts tickling him …
  • After being captured by the Indians, Painless’ “unconventional” escape!
  • Painless’ rescue of Calamity Jane, and their escape.


  • Buttons and Bows
    • by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
    • Sung by Bob Hope
  • Meetcha Round The Corner
    • Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
    • Sung by Iris Adrian (dubbed by Annette Warren), then danced by Bob Hope and Iris Adrian


Cast of characters

Jane Russell and Bob Hope as the happy couple in "The Paleface"

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