Deadwood, Dakota Territory, is largely the abode of men, where Indian scout Calamity Jane is as hard-riding, boastful, and handy with a gun as any; quite an overpowering personality. But the army lieutenant she favors doesn't really appreciate her finer qualities.
One of Jane's boasts brings her to Chicago to recruit an actress for the Golden Garter stage. Arrived, the lady in question appears (at first) to be a more feminine rival for the favors of Jane's male friends...including her friendly enemy Wild Bill Hickock.
Doris Day ... Calamity Jane
Howard Keel ... Wild Bill Hickok
Allyn Ann McLerie ... Katie Brown (as Allyn McLerie)
Philip Carey ... Lieutenant Danny Gilmartin
Dick Wesson ... Francis Fryer
Paul Harvey ... Henry Miller
Chubby Johnson ... Rattlesnake
Gale Robbins ... Adelaid Adams
Director: David Butler
Music: Ray Heindorf / Sammy Fain
Xvid / MP3
I defy anyone not to like this musical and Doris Day's infectious portrayal of Calamity Jane. Even those who did not later like her later characterizations as the All American virgin have to give her musical talent it's due. When she opens up the movie with The Deadwood Stage number the viewer is immediately caught up in the whole lighthearted spirit of the movie.
It was interesting that Warner Brothers got Howard Keel from MGM to play opposite Doris. After all they did have Gordon MacRae at Warners and he and Doris had done a few successful films together.
Possibly the reason is to see what the public missed when Doris did not play opposite Keel in Annie Get Your Gun. She wanted the part of Annie Oakley very badly, but a deal with MGM couldn't be made. I think this might have been Jack Warner's mea culpa to her.
The duet that Howard and Doris sing I Can Do Without You is certainly inspired by Irving Berlin's Anything You Can Do. Imagine Keel singing it with Doris instead of Betty Hutton.
In fact Doris's whole character is ripped off from Annie Get Your Gun. But I really don't care because she does such a fabulous job.
Sammy Fain's and Paul Francis Webster's score for Calamity Jane isn't as top heavy with hits as Annie Get Your Gun, but it did provide Doris with one of her best songs and biggest movie hits up to that time. Secret Love won the Oscar for Best Song of 1953 and her singing of it is primo.
In the early sixties Doris Day did an album of the songs from Annie Get Your Gun with Robert Goulet playing Frank Butler and a whole ensemble for the other parts. Now that was a great album and it should have been a great flick.
They really unfortunately don't make them like this any more or even a fraction as good.
# Appearing on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962) in the 1970s, Doris Day recalled seeing early dailies from this film, in which she was stomped about the set in buckskins and leather, speaking in a high, girlishly feminine voice. She immediately brought her line readings down several registers, so she'd sound as tough as she looked.
# Doris Day has often cited this particular movie and title role as her personal favorite among her 39 film appearances.