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Saturday, January 3, 2015

"Calamity Jane" (1953)

On the surface, this was Warner Bros' bald-faced attempt to recreate the success of another musical-western of the day, "Annie Get Your Gun". And it succeeds. A sharp-shootin' heroine based on real frontier personality? Check. A passel of hummable cornpone songs? Check. Howard Keel as the baritoned love interest? Check. But what makes this movie most fascinating is the not-so-subtle lesbian romance subtext (for starters, see the mega-selling hit song "Secret Love"). Doris Day (in her favorite role) has a field day with this lovable but clearly self-deluded tomboy of a character. The whole piece is rife with male/female role reversals that probably went over the heads of '50s movie audiences. Delightful multi-layered fun. 

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