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calamity jane posterDoris Day looks no more like the real Calamity Jane than you or I do, but this 1953 film is intended as a lighthearted musical, not a historical tract. As portrayed by the freckled Ms. Day, Jane is a rootin', tootin' shootin' hoyden in the western town of Deadwood. When she isn't tearing up the town, Jane spends her time cussing out Wild Bill Hickok (Howard Keel). The plot gets under way when Jane promises the citizens of Deadwood that she can persuade classy Chicago stage star Adelaide Adams (Gale Robbins) to perform at the local opry house.

The peppy musical score by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster includes the Oscar-winning Secret Love, which became a million-selling hit for Doris Day.

Cast: Doris Day, Howard Keel, Allyn Ann McLerie, Dick Wesson, Philip Carey, Paul Harvey
Directed By: David Butler
Rating: G
Genre: Musical Comedy, Western
Runtime: 101 minutes
Language: English


By Western Classic Movies

In a musical Western that catapulted her career to new heights, Doris Day stars as Calamity Jane in this 1953 Warner Brothers movie.

calamity Jane5The rising starlet brought legendary Old West figure, Martha “Calamity Jane” Burke, to life, and recorded her most successful song “Secret Love” for this western.

“Calamity Jane” is a rugged, brave Old West scout with a knack for charity, and no luck in love. The western opens with one of the legend’s favorite Deadwood haunts, The Golden Garter, on the chopping block. In order to save the saloon, Calamity Jane vows to bring real entertainment back to Deadwood, and sets off for Chicago.

In Chicago, Calamity Jane is determined to get famed performer, Adelaide Adams to come back to Deadwood with her. She approaches Katie Brown (Allyn McLerie), who is the maid and understudy of the real Adelaide Adams, with the offer and she accepts it. Unfortunately, unsophisticated Jane doesn’t know that Katie is the understudy and when they reach Deadwood, the crowd is outraged by the mistake. Jane begs for the chance for Katie to perform, and the people of Deadwood wind up won over by her performance.

calamity Jane3While Jane and Katie become fast friends, things change quickly when both Wild Bill Hickock (Howard Keel), and Lt. Danny Gillmartin (Philip Carey) take a liking to the young songstress. Having pined unsuccessfully for Gillmartin, a jealous and betrayed Calamity Jane tries to run Katie out of Deadwood. Friends of the women keep the worst from happening, and Jane eventually finds herself in love with another Wild West legend.

“Calamity Jane” shows the old scout at her best. Fiercely loyal, generous and brave to a fault, she made a name for herself as a champion of the downtrodden.

Doris Day plays Calamity Jane with a spunk and verve that drew much acclaim for the young actress, thus becoming a launching point for her long and celebrated career. Doris Day’s song, “Secret Love,” won an Academy Award and was the biggest musical hit of her career.