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Nick Cochran, an American in exile in Macao, has a chance to restore his name by helping capture an international crime lord. Undercover, can he mislead the bad guys and still woo the handsome singer/petty crook, Julie Benson?
Josef von Sternberg,
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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
Despite the film's success, screenwriter Frank Tashlin said in an interview with Peter Bogdanovich: "After seeing the preview of it, I could've shot Norman Z. McLeod. I'd written it as a satire on The Virginian (1929), and it was completely botched. I could've killed that guy. And I realized then that I must direct my own stuff." 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 »
There's a million Indians out here against one coward!
See more »
Probably Hope's best film his comic style in a well structured film
Gunslinger and criminal Calamity Jane is released from prison by the Governors in exchange for her help with a problem. Someone is selling guns and dynamite to the Indians and other agents have been killed trying to find out who only someone like Jane can get close. When her partner is killed she has no-one to act as her husband and help her travel incognito. She happens across a cowardly dentist, Painless Peter Potter, and she marries him in order to get a ride to Buffalo. However, can she keep him out of trouble long enough to find the dynamite?
Bob Hope may be 100 years old as I write this but he has been out of movies for quite a few years, also he only tended to make one type of film and play the same part in each one. So the appeal of this film very much depends on whether or not you like that. Personally I love Bob Hope and enjoy him even when he is in a weak film. The Paleface is one of his best films simply because it is a good piece of all round entertainment. It has a good central plot that stops the film just being a vehicle for him to do his stuff and instead is actually going somewhere.
The songs are quite nice but also there's only really two so it doesn't slow the film down too much. I do like the odd musical number but some Hope films had 5 or more songs in a 90 minute film, which was way too many. Hope is on good form, his asides and jokes work better in a good plot and he is very funny throughout. Some routines work better than others but if you are a fan then you'll like his style even when it isn't as funny as you'd hope. Russell is a good leading lady despite being a bit serious and then softening too quickly. The support cast are all in the background and the Native American clichés can be explained by the period and not racism.
Overall this is a very enjoyable film that works well because it allows Hope to run free within a good film instead of simply letting his performance be the film. He wisecracks his way along and it is easy to see why his light comic style has made him an icon even with a generation who have found him on their television and not the big screen.
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