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Calamity Jane

   

Calamity Jane (1953), starring Doris Day, Howard Keel

Synopsis of Calamity Jane

Doris Day saddles up as wild West heroine Calamity Jane.  She’s a tomboy gunslinger who leaves Arizona to go to Chicago to bring back a stage star to perform in a frontier saloon.  She pines for an attractive soldier and swoons over rough-riding Wild Bill Hickock.

Review

Calamity Jane is an enjoyable musical. It’s not “deep”, and it’s not meant to be. It’s an enjoyable Doris Day musical romantic comedy. It deals with Doris as the title character, the tomboy Calamity Jane. She goes to Chicago to bring a famous entertainer back to her western town to perform at the saloon …. But wrongly brings the wrong girl! Despite that, she stands up for the “new” girl, and they even become roommates. Although there’s some friendly friction when the new girl falls for the wrong man …. The man that Jane’s got her eyes set on! Of course, she has no romantic interest in Wild Bill Hickok …. He’s her best friend, and he only thinks of her as “one of the guys” …. At first.

Wild Bill Hickok (Doris Day): [finds a gun hidden in Calamity’s wedding dress] What’s this fer?
Calamity Jane (Doris Day): Awww… just in case any more actresses come in from Chicagy!

Cast

Songs

  • The Deadwood Stage (Whip-Crack-Away). Written by Sammy Fain. Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. Sung and whistled by chorus behind credits, then sung by Doris Day and chorus
  • Introducing Henry Miller. Written by Sammy Fain. Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. Performed by Doris Day
  • Hive Full of Honey. Written by Sammy Fain. Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. Performed in drag by Dick Wesson
  • I Can Do Without You. Written by Sammy Fain. Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster, Performed by Doris Day and Howard Keel
  • It’s Harry I’m Planning to Marry. Written by Sammy Fain. Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. Performed by Gale Robbins, then by Allyn Ann McLerie
  • Just Blew in from the Windy City. Written by Sammy Fain. Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. Sung and danced by Doris Day
  • Keep It Under Your Hat. Written by Sammy Fain. Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. Performed (twice) by Allyn Ann McLerie
  • Higher than a Hawk. Written by Sammy Fain. Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. Performed by Howard Keel
  • A Woman’s Touch. Written by Sammy Fain. Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. Performed by Doris Day and Allyn Ann McLerie
  • The Black Hills of Dakota. Written by Sammy Fain. Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. Sung by Howard Keel, Doris Day, with Allyn Ann McLerie, Philip Carey, and Chorus; also danced at ball
  • Secret Love. Written by Sammy Fain. Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. Sung by Doris Day

Editorial review of Calamity Jane courtesy of Amazon.com

This 1953 musical is very much a vehicle for Doris Day, in the title role, as a wild cowgal who can outshoot and outsing any boy on the range. When an actress arrives in Deadwood and uses her feminine charms on Jane’s secret love, Wild Bill Hickock (Howard Keel), Jane tries to mend her tomboy ways. Not exactly up to the feminist code of honor, this is still energetic and Day is very perky. Of course, one could almost detect a homosexual undercurrent with the cross-dressing Jane, but this was Hollywood in the 1950s, so we best not. This won an Oscar for Best Song–“Secret Love,” by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster. –Rochelle O’Gorman

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