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Author Topic: Calamity Jane (1953)  (Read 798 times)
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« on: August 22, 2011, 12:16:57 PM »

It got an Oscar for best song: which I heard for the first time watching the movie. It is not bad but it is not memeorable; not a single song to memorize. Doris Day (not my favourite actress) is very good though: she makes most of the scarce material she is supplied with though it's clear her effort to round her talk to make it sound like Gabby Hayes. Howard Keel is dramatically the spitting image of Val Kilmer. 6\10 

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greenbudgie
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2017, 06:39:15 AM »

I like the songs 'The Black Hills Of Dakota' and 'Hive Full Of Honey' in this and the award-winning 'Secret Love' isn't bad either. I find this movie handy for picking up a bit of dialogue and expressions which were present in the Old West. At least they do sound as though they probably authentic sounding to me. There is a bit of dispute going on about the non-PC terms that may or may have not been included in Calamity's chatter.

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Spikeopath
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2017, 05:31:26 PM »

Delightful froth.

As fizzy as a Sarsparilla.

Calamity Jane is directed by David Butler and written by James O'Hanlon. It stars Doris Day, Howard Keel, Allyn Ann McLerie, Phillip Carey & Dick Wesson. The score features music by Sammy Fain and lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. Out of Warner Brothers, the film is seen as a response to the success of MGM's production of Annie Get Your Gun in 1950, where Keel was also starring. Plot here is loosely based on the life of Wild West heroine Calamity Jane (Day) and explores the relationship between Wild Bill Hickok (Keel) and herself.

I guess the first thing that should be said is that this is no biography of one Martha Jane Cannary Burke (AKA: Calamity Jane), In truth this is more a comedy musical romp built around the famous frontiers woman. And with it being very basic on narrative and direction, this really only appeals to the film fan with musical leanings. But on that score the film is delightful, with spirited lead performances from Day & Keel and a handful of truly great tunes headed by the Oscar winning "Secret Love". The film also earns some bonus points for giving Day the chance to play something other than the naive innocent girl next door type (it was a personal favourite role of hers). She gets to be spunky and brash without ever losing that adorable appeal that carried her throughout her career. The play on sexual stereotypes is rather humorous without being twee, something that you feel Butler was under appreciated for, and Wilfred M. Cline's colour photography enhances the playfulness of it all.

Seen now as a feminist fantasy with a gay following thanks to "Secret Love", there's no denying the film is all very Hollywoodized; with characters so animated they could burst. But all told, if one is able to forgive and see past its flaws then it's a film guaranteed to light up the darkest of wintry days. 7/10

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greenbudgie
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2017, 06:18:17 AM »

Nice quote with "fizzy as a sarsaparilla." I don't know if western saloons stocked Sarsaparilla for customers who had a hangover? But I've heard it is good as a hangover treatment. Not that I need any nowadays.

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