CALAMITY JANE [1953 / 2015] [Blu-ray] [USA Release] Yippeeeee! It’s the Big Bonanza Musical Extravaganza! Warner Bros. Sky-Highest, Smile-Widest, Wildest, Wackiest of ‘Em All!

Doris Day and Howard Keel fuss, feud and fall in love as Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok in this entertainment mother lode. At first curvaceous Calamity Jane is too busy fighting Indians and cracking a bullwhip to pay mind to such girlie what-all’s of dresses and perfume. And Wild Bill Hickok is too bust wooing a dainty chanteuse Katie Brown [Allyn McLerie] to give a hoot about a hot-headed tomboy. But things change in a rootin,’ tootin,’ big way when each becomes love’s target. There are wide-open Technicolor Western spaces, lots of high-stepping dances and a hummable humdinger of a score by Academy Award® winning songwriters Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster, who took their first Oscar® for the classic ballad and the 1950s megahit "Secret Love."

FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1954 Academy Awards®: Win: Best Music for an Original Song for Sammy Fain (music) and Paul Francis Webster (lyrics) for the song "Secret Love." Nominated: Best Sound Recording for William A. Mueller (Warner Bros. Sound Department). Nominated: Best Music Scoring of a Musical Picture for Ray Heindorf.

FILM FACT No2: The film ‘CALAMITY JANE’ has been popular with some lesbian audiences for its depiction of a character which can be read as lesbian, and was screened at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in 2006. Film critic Jamie Stuart points to the film's lesbian overtones in Jane being played as a strong, independent woman who shares a house with a woman, the two of them painting "Calam and Katie" in a heart on its door. Armond White sees the film as approaching sexuality in a way that Hollywood was not openly able to do, describing the empathy and envy (despite this resulting from conflict over a man) between Jane and Katie's characters as "a landmark display of girl-on-girl attraction." Out magazine described the film's award-winning song, "Secret Love," as "the first gay anthem." Though the film portrays Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok as lovers, historians have found no proof that they were more than acquaintances. Jane claimed after Hickok's death that she had not only been his lover but also his wife and the mother of his child, but she offered no substantiation of her claims. Many of her contemporaries considered her a teller of tall tales as portrayed in the film to humorous effect, who exaggerated her links to more famous frontier figures, and some insisted Bill Hickok did not even particularly like her. But when she died decades after Hickok, friends buried her beside him at her request; four of the men on the self-appointed committee who planned Calamity Jane's funeral and they were Albert Malter, Frank Ankeney, Jim Carson, and Anson Higby and later stated that, since Bill Hickok had "absolutely no use" for Calamity Jane in this life, they decided to play a posthumous joke on him by laying her to rest by his side.

Cast: Doris Day, Howard Keel, Allyn Ann McLerie, Philip Carey, Dick Wesson, Paul Harvey, Chubby Johnson, Gale Robbins, Victor Adamson (uncredited), Fred Aldrich (uncredited), Leon Alton (uncredited), Beulah Archuletta (uncredited), Emile Avery (uncredited), George Bell (uncredited), Ray Bennett (uncredited), Billy Bletcher (uncredited), Stanley Blystone (uncredited), Rudy Bowman (uncredited), Chet Brandenburg (uncredited), Forest Burns (uncredited), Budd Buster (uncredited), Lane Chandler (uncredited), Roydon Clark (uncredited), John Cliff (uncredited), Edmund Cobb (uncredited),Robert Cole (uncredited), Ben Corbett (uncredited), Paul Cristo (uncredited), Jack Daly (uncredited), Roy Damron (uncredited), Luigi Faccuito (uncredited), Franklyn Farnum (uncredited), Art Felix (uncredited), Charles Ferguson (uncredited), Tom Ferrandini (uncredited), Bess Flowers (uncredited), Fritz Ford (uncredited), Raoul Freeman (uncredited), Ben Frommer (uncredited), Terry Frost (uncredited), Clem Fuller (uncredited), Robert Fuller (uncredited), Joe Garcio (uncredited), Kenneth Gibson (uncredited), Augie Gomez (uncredited), James Gonzalez (uncredited), Harold Goodwin (uncredited), Marion Gray (uncredited), Duke Green (uncredited), Herman Hack (uncredited), Bill Hale (uncredited), Sam Harris (uncredited), Al Hill (uncredited), Ed Hinton (uncredited), Reed Howes (uncredited), George Huggins (uncredited), Michael Jeffers (uncredited), Delos Jewkes (uncredited), Brad Johnson (uncredited), I. Stanford Jolley (uncredited), Ray Jones (uncredited), Dave Kashner (uncredited), Ray Kellogg (uncredited), Colin Kenny (uncredited), Jack Kenny (uncredited), Donald Kerr (uncredited), Ethan Laidlaw (uncredited), Mike Lally (uncredited), Richard LaMarr (uncredited), Perk Lazelle (uncredited), Rex Lease (uncredited), Jimmy Lloyd (uncredited), Tom London (uncredited), Robert Locke Lorraine (uncredited), Jack Low (uncredited), Pierce Lyden (uncredited), Emmett Lynn (uncredited), Ted Mapes (uncredited), Kermit Maynard (uncredited), Merrill McCormick (uncredited), Philo McCullough (uncredited), Francis McDonald (uncredited), Frank McLure (uncredited), William Meader (uncredited), Nolie Miller (uncredited), Frank Mills (uncredited), Kansas Moehring (uncredited), Tom Monroe (uncredited), Monte Montague (uncredited), Jack Montgomery (uncredited), Lee Morgan (uncredited), Jack Mower (uncredited), Zon Murray (uncredited), Artie Ortego (uncredited), Jack Perrin (uncredited), Joe Ploski (uncredited), Bob Reeves (uncredited), Waclaw Rekwart (uncredited), John Rice (uncredited), Dick Rich (uncredited), Suzanne Ridgway (uncredited), Chuck Roberson (uncredited), Buddy Roosevelt (uncredited), Gene Roth (uncredited), Edith Russell (uncredited), Danny Sands (uncredited), Jeffrey Sayre (uncredited), Allen D. Sewall (uncredited), Lucile Sewall (uncredited), Sammy Shack (uncredited), Lee Shumway (uncredited), Carl Sklover (uncredited), Tom Smith (uncredited), Charles Soldani (uncredited), George Sowards (uncredited), Bert Spencer (uncredited), Norman Stevans (uncredited), Bert Stevens (uncredited), Glenn Strange (uncredited), Brick Sullivan (uncredited), Charles Sullivan (uncredited), Hal Taggart (uncredited), Forrest Taylor (uncredited), Harry Tenbrook (uncredited), Arthur Tovey (uncredited), Sailor Vincent (uncredited), Ralph Volkie (uncredited), Bob Whitney (uncredited), William Wilkerson (uncredited) and Harry Wilson (uncredited)

Director: David Butler

Producer: William Jacobs

Screenplay: James O'Hanlon

Composers: David Buttolph (uncredited) and Howard Jackson (uncredited)

Cinematography: Wilfred M. Cline (Director of Photography)

Image Resolution: 1080p (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1

Audio: English: 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
French: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono
Spanish [Castilian]: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono
Spanish [Latin]: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono
Português: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish [Castilian], Spanish [Latin] and Português

Running Time: 101 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Warner Home Video

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Doris Day looks to me like the real Calamity Jane and this 1953 film ‘CALAMITY JANE’ is intended as a light-hearted musical, not a historical tract. As portrayed by the freckled Doris Day, as Calamity Jane is a rootin,' tootin,' shootin' in the western town of Deadwood. When Calamity Jane isn't tearing up the town, Calamity Jane spends her time cussing out Wild Bill Hickok [Howard Keel]. It was an excellent vehicle to launch Miss Doris Day's career into the stratosphere, for it catapulted her to new heights among the greatest of stars. Doris Day performed with such gusto, that one film critic noted, "By picture's end, she is within hailing distance of Ginger Rogers and Judy Garland." But in the opinion of this reviewer, Doris Day not only caught up with them, this girl with spirit, passed them both.

The opening sequence of this wonderful musical is pure pleasure, as Doris Day rides the Deadwood stage across the screen and into our hearts. This isn't the real Wild West, of course, but Warner Bros. Technicolor riposte to M-G-M's ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and the studio even poached the same leading man, handsome Howard Keel, excellent here as Wild Bill Hickock. The specially commissioned score is a treat, but the strength of the film is Day giving a marvellous musical comedy performance in her finest role, creating a warm, robust yet tender character; just marvel at her timing in “Just Blew In from the Windy City,” while “Secret Love” was recorded by Doris Day in just one take, won the best song Oscar and is beautifully staged by choreographer Jack Donohue and is a true delight that repays many viewings with great dividends.

‘CALAMITY JANE’ centres around her effort to save Henry Miller [Paul Harvey] and his theatre/saloon from ruin by bringing the much admired, beautiful singing star, Miss Adelaide Adams [Gale Robbins], to perform in Deadwood's premiere entertainment venue, “The Golden Garter.” Calamity Jane promises the patrons of “The Golden Garter” that she will personally bring Miss Adelaide Adams back from Chicago to South Dakota. In Chicago, she sees Adelaide Adam's show, from the back of the theatre, but later mistakes Miss Adelaide Adams' stage struck maid, Katie Brown [Allyn McLerie], for the star. Katie Brown, realising the mistake, seizes the opportunity to make her dreams come true by posing as Miss Adelaide Adams in the rustic no-man's  land territory of Deadwood, which has only a small cigarette picture of the singer to compare. After all, she did look similar to Miss Adelaide Adams and she fooled Calamity Jane!

After crossing dangerous terrain, with Indians in hot pursuit, the two arrive in Deadwood, unscathed, to tremendous fanfare. The men of Deadwood are delighted that Calamity Jane has kept “her word” and brought the great Miss Adelaide Adams to perform for them. Especially pleased are Lieutenant Danny Gilmartin [Philip Carey] and Bill Hickock [Howard Keel], who immediately take a liking to Miss Adelaid Adams. To Katie Brown's surprise, there is someone in Deadwood who does recognise her. Francis Fryer [Dick Wesson], another entertainer from Chicago, who knows that Katie Brown is not Miss Adelaide Adams, but her maid. Francis Fryer does not, however, reveal this knowledge for fear of repercussions against Henry Miller [Paul Harvey].

On her opening night, Katie Brown is exceedingly nervous, and adding to her trepidation, Francis Fryer wishes her good luck by saying, "Give 'em all you've got, Katie". The fact that he knows her real identity exacerbates her fear and Katie Brown goes onstage and gives a disastrous performance. A disappointed audience boos her after she confesses to the crowd that she has deceived them and is not Miss Adelaide Adams. A shocked Calamity Jane comes to her rescue, imploring the angry crowd to give Katie Brown a chance.  Surprisingly, they agree to let her sing. With renewed confidence, Katie Brown delivers a great show and Deadwood now has its own “Miss Adelaide Adams.”

The rest of the cast is sterling. Philip Carey was unsympathetic as Lieutenant Danny Gilmartin, Paul Harvey was fun as Henry Miller, as was Chubby Johnson (the “Gabby Hayes” of the film), as Rattlesnake. Gale Robbins was pretty and performed well "It's Harry I'm Plannin' to Marry" as Miss Adelaide Adams. There were some very familiar faces in the crowd at “The Golden Garter.” Many of the extras were veteran western film performers we've seen in thousands of cowboys and Indians western films. Obviously, director, David Butler knew what he had here, a marvellous script, memorable score, a talented cast and two stars to make this a film for the ages.

When director David Butler announced he was ready to shoot the scene, Doris Day wearing a yellow dress crated by famed fashion designer, Howard Shoup, stepped into the trough of mud with all the pleasant anticipation she might display at dipping into a perfumed bubble bath. “It’s wonderfully warm, though a bit lumpy,” declared the star. The director, however, still was not satisfied so he spread more mud on Doris Day, who was still enjoying every minute of this supposed ordeal.

The wonderful Doris Day was perfectly cast as hot-headed Calamity Jane; and injects such life into the role and takes us through some of the most memorable high-stepping dances and hum-able tunes of any musical. We meet many more unforgettable characters along the way and are kept smiling by the invigorating spirit of the actors and the beauty of the cinematography and of the glorious Technicolor masterpiece, that makes you feel you wish you was there enjoying the delights of Deadwood and “The Golden Garter,” but especially the real Wild West.


THE DEADWOOD STAGE (Whip-Crack-Away) (Written by Sammy Fain) (Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster) [Sung and whistled by chorus behind credits, then sung by Doris Day and chorus]

INTRODUCING HENRY MILLER (Written by Sammy Fain) (Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster) [Performed by Doris Day]

HIVE FULL OF HONEY (Written by Sammy Fain) (Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster) [Performed in drag by Dick Wesson]

I CAN DO WITHOUT YOU (Written by Sammy Fain) (Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster) [Performed by Doris Day and Howard Keel]

IT’S HARRY I’M PLANNING TO MARRY (Written by Sammy Fain) (Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster) [Performed by Gale Robbins, then by Allyn Ann McLerie]

JUST BLEW IN FROM THE WINDY CITY (Written by Sammy Fain) (Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster) [Sung and danced by Doris Day]

KEEP IT UNDER YOUR HAT (Written by Sammy Fain) (Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster) [Performed twice by Allyn Ann McLerie]

HIGHER THAN A HAWK (Written by Sammy Fain) (Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster) [Performed by Howard Keel]

A WOMAN’S TOUCH (Written by Sammy Fain) (Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster) [Performed by Doris Day and Allyn Ann McLerie]

THE BLACK HILLS OF DAKOTA (Written by Sammy Fain) (Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster) [Sung by Howard Keel, Doris Day, Allyn Ann McLerie, Philip Carey, and Chorus; also danced at the ball]

SECRET LOVE (Written by Sammy Fain) (Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster) [Sung by Doris Day]

* * * * *

Blu-ray Image Quality – ‘CALAMITY JANE’ has been remastered by Warner Bros. on-site facility, and has produced a stunning 1080p encoded Blu-ray, which features a rock-solid, fully resolved and detailed image, but sadly was only made in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio. Colours are exceptionally vibrant and bright; the transformation wrought on Calamity Jane's dusty wreck of a cabin during "A Woman's Touch" is particularly striking. Even in the obvious day-for-night sequences, detail remains impressive. The grain pattern is fine and film-like without any trace of artificial sharpening. So overall, this is now a much more superior 1080p image over the inferior original DVD release.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – The film's original soundtrack has been given the 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Mono experience and it sounds really good and is even more clean, clear, free of noise and distortion, with both dialogue and lyrics easily intelligible from a previous video release. The orchestra is a much improved presence, even though it is in the 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Mono and has a dynamic range that one would experience with either in a stereo or a multi-channel recording, but neither does it sound too thin and tinny. For the era, this is a fine reproduction and again is far superior to what the sound was with the inferior original DVD release.

* * * * *

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature: Warner Bros. B/W Short: So You Love Your Dog [1953] [480i] [1.37:1] [10:30] Funny Joe McDoakes short has him in World War II with his "trusting" dog Dusty who is actually a worthless beast. Each time Joe McDoakes gives him  a paper message to give to his base the dog instead gives it to the enemy. After the war and back at home Joe McDoakes brings Dusty to live with him and sure enough poor McDoakes is too stupid to see all the bad things the dog is doing. If you're familiar with George O'Hanlon series then you know what to expect. This here isn't one of the best shorts in the series but there are enough big laughs to make it worth sitting through. This one here is actually fairly different from others in the series as it goes for a different type of gag as the dog itself is almost human and doing things that a dog typically wouldn't do. One of the best scenes has Dusty bringing back homeless men to sleep on the couch and another terrific scene has the dog selling Joe McDoakes's location to the German army. As you'd expect George O'Hanlon fits the role of Joe McDoakes to perfection and the dog too actually gives a pretty funny performance. If you're unfamiliar with this series then this is a good place to start. Voice Cast: George O'Hanlon (Joe McDoakes), Mel Blanc (Dusty dog voice) (uncredited), Oscar Blank (Bum) (uncredited), Phyllis Coates (Alice McDoakes) (uncredited), Creighton Hale (Bartender) (uncredited), Frank Marlowe (Home Robber) (uncredited), Richard Reeves (Policeman) (uncredited) and Otto Reichow (Nazi Messenger) (uncredited). Director: Richard L. Bare. Producer: Gordon Hollingshead (uncredited). Composer: William Lava. Cinematography: Sidney Hickox.      

Special Feature: Warner Bros. Cartoon: Duck Dodgers in the 24½ Century [1953] [480i] [1.37:1] [7:04] The plot of the cartoon involves Daffy Duck AKA Duck Dodgers in his search for the rare element Illudium Phosdex, "the shaving cream atom." In the future, the only remaining supply of the element is on the mysterious "Planet X." After Duck Dodgers plots an enormously complicated course to “Planet X” by way of rocket, his assistant, the "Eager Young Space Cadet" Porky Pig points out that they can simply follow a path of planets bearing the letters of the alphabet; leading from Planet A, through Planets B, C, D, and so on and each planet features a single landmass in the shape of the letter itself. Duck Dodgers takes credit for this idea and the two soon arrive on the planet. Duck Dodgers finally snaps and deploys his "secret weapon" in attempt to destroy Marvin the Martian, not knowing Marvin the Martian is preparing to do the same with one of his own. Both fire their weapons at the same time, resulting in Planet X being destroyed. The cartoon ends with Duck Dodgers dramatically claiming the last remaining chunk of the planet for Earth, while Marvin the Martian and the "Eager Young Space Cadet" Porky Pig hang helplessly from a root below, the latter delivering the final punchline and relating to Duck Dodgers' Pyrrhic victory, "Eh, b-b-b-b-big deal." The cartoon was directed by Chuck Jones (credited as Charles M. Jones), with the story by Michael Maltese, voices by Mel Blanc, and original music by Carl Stalling. The animation was credited to Lloyd Vaughan, Ken Harris and Ben Washam, with Harry Love receiving a credit for effects animation. The distinctive layouts were designed by Maurice Noble and the backgrounds produced by Phil DeGuard. In 1994, it was voted No.4 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field. In 2004, it was retrospectively nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Voice Cast: Mel Blanc (Daffy Duck AKA Duck Dodgers / Porky Pig / Marvin the Martian / Dr. I.Q. Hi). Director: Chuck Jones. Producer: Edward Selzer (uncredited). Screenplay: Michael Maltese (story). Composer: Carl W. Stalling (uncredited).

Special Feature: Warner Pathe Newsreel: Western Style Premiere For ‘CALAMITY JANE’ [1953] [480i] [1.37:1] [0:44] A newsreel clip of the ‘CALAMITY JANE’ premiere in Rapid City, South Dakota. I am sure there must have been much more film footage available, as I feel it is far too short.

Special Feature: Warner Pathe Newsreel: Photoplay Magazine Film Awards [1953] [480i] [1.37:1] [0:55] In the days before awards show television broadcasts, they had to reply on filmed newsreels, but sadly this is very short and some footage must have been lost in the archives somewhere.

Theatrical Trailer [1953] [480i] [1.37:1] [3:00] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘CALAMITY JANE,’ where they tell us at the end, that “She’s Rootin’ – Tootin’ Sure As Shootin!”

Finally, ‘CALAMITY JANE’ is awash with delightful and lively songs including the Oscar winning song “Secret Love” and my personal favourite is “Whip-Crack-Away.” This place Deadwood is where people fall in and out of love in the blink of an eye, where friendships are made, broken, and remade. This is a place where good triumphs over evil and happily ever after does exist. This is a brilliant film that is full of magic and wonder! So suspend reality for a while and enjoy the ride as this rootin,’ tootin,’ Doris Day tomboy takes you on a journey you’ll never forget. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado 
Le Cinema Paradiso 
United Kingdom

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