Calamity Jane Movie Review

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If you were a woman in the Old West, you didn't have to have a musical made about your life (Belle Starr), but it certainly didn't hurt if you did (Annie Oakley). Calamity Jane was one of the big trinity of Wild West Women, and though she was arguably the roughest of the bunch, the musical -- starring Doris Day, for chrissake -- about her is undoubtedly the cheeriest.

Here we have Day -- blonde and with perfect teeth and a spotless "rustic" outfit -- galavanting through showtunes as she tells her patented tall tales of fighting off the "Injuns" and drinkin' with the boys. A silly bit of happenstance leads her to head off to "Chicagee" in search of an actress which the residents of Deadwood are itchin' to see. Romance (with Wild Bill Hickok) and further singing ensues.

Calamity Jane is so removed from even the most imperceptable nod toward reality that even a history know-nothing like myself found its liberties on the distasteful side. Can you imagine what the real Calamity Jane (nicknamed here the precious "Calam" as she dons a dress and paints flowers on the door of her cabin) would think?

While the songs are on the forgettable side, Day fares the worst of all, as her idea of character consists of jutting out her lower jaw, pouting her lip, and ridiculously lowering her voice. I can't speak for 1953, but today Calamity Jane isn't funny or musically glorious. Give it a pass and watch Unforgiven instead.

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calamity joe's picture

calamity joe

I can't imagine that we would be talking about the same movie. This is a MUSICAL, if you want reality, watch a foreign film. Actually, Calamity Jane is considered to have one of the scores to come out of a movie that not originally a stage show. One of the songs made the charts and was a huge hit. The opening number has the catchiness of the opening of Beauty and the Beast (which set the tone for the cartoon as having a very Bway style score). The movie is extremely entertaining, and except for the use of backscreen projection on some of the numbers, this movie is quite good. Guess musicals are not your thing.

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Calamity Jane Rating

" Grim "

Rating: NR, 1953

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