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Calamity Jane Film Review

Updated on May 14, 2019
Actor
Character
Doris Day
Calamity Jane
Howard Keel
Wild Bill Hickok
Gale Robbins
Adelaide Adams
Allyn Ann McLerie
Katie Brown
Phillip Carey
Lt Daniel Gilmartin
Paul Harvey
Henry Miller

About the film

Released: 1952

Director: David Butler

Producer: William Jacobs

Running time: 1 hr 41 mins

Genre: Musical, Comedy, Romance

Distributed by: Warner Brothers

Budget: $2,500,000


The Film

This film is loosely based on Jane Cannary, a real life frontiers woman. The film is set in Deadwood, in the Dakota Territory, in 1876. Calamity, played by the lovely Doris Day who sadly passed away recently, is a tomboy who is good with a gun. Living in a town where there are few women, she has had to learn to toughen up and be like one of the men. When there is a mix up with one of the female entertainers at the local Saloon Bar, Calamity travels to Chicago to bring back a glamorous singer called Adelaide Adams. Once she arrives in Chicago, she hears someone singing in Adelaide's dressing room. Assuming this is Adelaide singing, she persuades her to travel back to Deadwood with her to be the star act at the Saloon. The woman is, in fact, Katie Brown, who is Adelaide's maid. Katie doesn't let on that she isn't Adelaide though, knowing this is her chance to be able to sing on stage, something she has always wanted to do. So Kate hops on the stagecoach with Calamity Jane and heads back to Deadwood. Things take a surprising turn as Calamity offers Katie to stay at her place. Of course, Calamity being the way she is, her living quarters aren't the best, and Katie soon begins on making Calamity's small home more homely and comfortable for a lady to live in. Throughout the film we witness how Calamity and Katie cope in a very male dominated town. There are many gaffs and laughs along the way at the expense of Calamity and poor Katie Brown, which gives the viewer a good laugh. It is also interesting to see the romance between Calamity and Wild Bill Hickok, played by the late, great Howard Keel.

As this is classed as a musical film, there are plenty of songs throughout the film to entertain you and keep the film upbeat and lively. There are a few songs in the film to sing along to:-

  • Calamity Jane: The Myth, The Woman, The Legend
  • The Deadwood Stage
  • I can do Without You
  • It's Harry I'm Planning to Marry
  • Just Blew in From the Windy City
  • Hive Full of Honey
  • Keep it Under Your Hat
  • My Heart is Higher than a Hawk
  • A Woman's Touch
  • Secret Love

My Thoughts

When it comes to playing the main role in Calamity Jane, I still find it difficult to see her play such a character. Doris Day was such a beautiful, feminine woman in the early days, and to watch her play such a tomboy can be hard. Saying that though, I certainly think she played an excellent part. I love the character of Calamity Jane. She is such an energetic and fun character to be around. Yes, she is brash and has no problem shooting that gun of hers and cracking that whip. She really does show them men a thing or two!

Her character may come across as brash, but there is a softer side to her. We see another side to Calamity when Katie Brown enters the scene. Although Katie was brought to Deadwood under false pretences, I think in the end it work out to be a good thing, certainly for Calamity. The two strike up a friendship. Not only, I think, does Katie help Calamity tidy up her home, but she also helps her transform the way she looks and acts around people.

The storyline may seem a little far fetched, but that doesn't matter. This film is such fun to watch, and there is so many great songs, I think it's easy to just enjoy this film for what it is. Although the movie is over 50 years old now, it is still a great film to watch and sing-a-long to. And yes, she looks great dressed up as a tomboy too! I like the onscreen relationship with Howard Keel. The two seem to get on well and have a connection. It also looked like she acted well with the actress who played Katie Brown. I love it when they sing A Woman's Touch. That's really fun to watch them singing this. I would give this film 10/10.

© 2019 Louise Powles

Comments

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    • Mark Tulin profile image

      Mark Tulin 

      10 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Enjoyed your review. I’m a fan of old movies and especially appreciate the character of Calamity Jane. Like you, I think Doris Day was a bit too feminine for the part, and perhaps an actress with tomboy traits could have been better.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      12 months ago from U.S.A.

      Hi, Louise, stellar review!

      As a fan of all-things-western, this was definitely a great movie. Day demonstrated her range of acting expertise, successfully pulling off the tomboy transformation. The other actors and the songs are worth the time of watching and listening, too. You did a superb job with your thorough review of this film, Louise, and I think I will watch it again. Respect and admiration, Tim

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      12 months ago

      Hi Louise, I can't believe this movie is 50 years old and one my parents always enjoyed. Doris Day was an amazing talent who will be greatly missed, and your review reminds me of how special she was.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      12 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I've never seen Calamity Jane, though I've heard of it. I'll look out for the film based on your interesting review. I wish I had seen it while Doris Day was still alive.

    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      12 months ago from Norfolk, England

      John - thankyou for the lovely comment. Yes, I admired her very much.

    • Penny Sebring profile image

      Penny Leigh Sebring 

      12 months ago from Fort Collins

      Such an entertaining movie, Doris Day did a fantastic job in a role that was very different from her previous roles.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      12 months ago from Queensland Australia

      It was sad to hear of Doris Day's recent passing. She was a wonderful singer and actress and I loved her here in the role of Calamity Jane. This was a very good review of a wonderfully entertaining film. Thanks for bringing back the memories, Louise.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      12 months ago from UK

      This is a very topical review after the very recent news of the death of Doris Day.

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