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Someone is selling guns to the Indians and in order to find the culprit Calamity Jane and a secret agent go undercover posing as man and wife. When the agent is killed Jane recruits a new husband -- none other than innocent dupe "Painless" Peter Potter, a totally inept dentist and confirmed coward who's main goal is to leave the barbaric west far behind. When their wagon train is attacked by the Indians it's Jane's sharpshooting that saves the day, but she gives the credit to Potter making him an instant hero to the townspeople and instant target to both the Indians and the gunrunners. Written by
Though the story here is fictional, there was a real dentist who called himself 'Painless' - 'Painless Parker'. Edgar Parker was a dentist who struggled to run a street dental business, and so he took his practice on the road. He worked in the 1890s, in the era of 'amusement'. Inspired by P.T. Barnum, he had a horse-drawn office, show girls and buglers. Parker promised that he could extract a rotten tooth painlessly for 50 cents. If the extraction was not painless, he would give the customer $5.00. Parker had a band that he used to attract people to his office. The band also served to distract the patients and to drown out any moans of pain emitted from the patients. Patients were served with a cup of whiskey or a solution of cocaine (called 'hydrocaine'). Parker is said to have legally changed his first name to 'Painless' to avoid charges of false advertising. See more »
When the gunrunners arrive in the Indian village they are seen to be travelling in a covered-wagon in one shot, and on an open buckboard covered with furs in the next shot. See more »
The Paleface one of the funniest films Bob Hope ever did was a godsend to the career of Jane Russell. Take a look at her film credits and see how few there were during the Forties. She did The Outlaw which kept going in and out of release every time Howard Hughes re-edited it. She did a film called The Young Widow which she hated and was a box office flop and then The Paleface.
Although Howard Hughes kept messing around with The Outlaw and kept Russell off the screen for most of the Forties, the man did know about publicity and certainly kept her name before the public. But a movie star has to make movies. So even Hughes realized that and I'm sure he exacted a good price for Russell's services to Paramount for The Paleface.
Hope of course is his usual character. A recent graduate of a dentistry college, he's gone west to seek fame and fortune, Hope the schnook gets tangled up with the notorious Calamity Jane.
Of course Russell is Calamity Jane, she's being offered a pardon in order to trap some no good outlaws selling weapons to the Indians. When her contact is killed and she nearly is also, she picks up Hope and they get married and join a wagon train.
Of course the some of the funniest stuff in The Paleface when Russell does some fancy shooting and let's Hope take the credit for it, giving him an undeserved reputation for fearlessness. One of my favorite bits is when Iron Eyes Cody gets a hold of some of Hope's laughing gas and Hope thinks he's Russell behind a barrier.
Bob Hope got to introduce his second Oscar winning song in The Paleface, Buttons and Bows by the Paramount contract song writers, Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. He sold a few records of it, but the real big hit was done by Dinah Shore. It's now become identified with Russell as well, but she sings it in Son of Paleface, not here.
This was Bob Hope's first trip to the American west in search of laughs and it was a successful expedition.
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