Calamity Jane Film Review
Wild Bill Hickok
Allyn Ann McLerie
Lt Daniel Gilmartin
About the film
Director: David Butler
Producer: William Jacobs
Running time: 1 hr 41 mins
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Romance
Distributed by: Warner Brothers
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
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