Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weekend Wonders: Calamity Jane (1953)

I am featuring a few of the thrillers Doris Day made on Mystery Mondays, but of course she is best known for her comedies, so I thought I would mention my favorites on the weekends.  I absolutely love the musical comedy "Calamity Jane" (1953) because Day was so refreshingly funny in the title role.  She has said that this was one of her favorite movie roles because the character's tomboy persona was so like her own, and her affection for the role is evident.  Since this movie is a musical the plot is not especially important -- suffice it to say that, as a leading figure in the Old West town of Deadwood in the Dakota Territory, Calamity Jane (Day) finds herself in the position of escorting a popular singer from Chicago to her home town.  Unfortunately, she brings the wrong woman, which works out just fine in some ways, but in others causes Calamity Jane much frustration.  The story line is fun, if a bit frothy, but the actors are superb, in particular Howard Keel as Wild Bill Hickok, Allyn McLerie as Katie Brown, Phillip Carey as Lieutenant Danny Gilmartin, and Dick Wesson as Francis Fryer.  Day and Keel are a riot to watch as their bickering characters interact, and both are in fine form as far as singing some truly excellent songs in the movie.  These songs include "The Deadwood Stage", "Just Blew in from the Windy City", "A Woman's Touch", and "Secret Love".  This latter song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.  My favorite, however, happens to be "The Black Hills of Dakota", and you can watch the movie rendition below:

I doubt that this movie has very much in common with the real Calamity Jane, and I have to wonder how she would have felt about this movie version of her life, but I like to think she would have gotten a kick out of it and enjoyed it for the fun and well-made musical comedy that it is!

No comments:

Post a Comment