CALAMITY JANE (1953)

Like Doris Day’s character in this Western musical, Warner Bros. head Jack L. Warner was not a man to give up easily. When he lost the chance to film Annie Get Your Gun (1950) as a vehicle for Day, he set out to turn another Wild West legend, Calamity Jane, into the perfect role for her. With Judy Garland set to star as Annie Oakley, he even hired James O’Hanlon, who had scripted Garland’s previous Western musical, The Harvey Girls (1946), to write about the frontier scout. The result was a delight that Day would later cite as her favorite of all her movies. The role gave her the chance to draw on her tomboy side as she struts around Deadwood, Wyoming, and Chicago trying to find the perfect star for the local saloon. It also gave her one of her signature songs, the Oscar-winning “Secret Love,” the highlight of Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster’s score. Day holds her own against the location scenery shot in Calabasas, California—even more striking in this world premiere restoration—and the strong cast includes Annie Get Your Gun’s male lead Howard Keel, Broadway star Allyn Ann McLerie, Phillip Carey and a very funny Dick Wesson. The material was so strong it was later revived on stage, most notably with Carol Burnett in the lead.

(d. David Butler, 101m, Digital) 

World premiere restoration presented in association with Warner Bros. Classics