A Wild West cow town is starving for entertainment, and it falls upon Calamity Jane, a rowdy, gun-toting,jeans-wearing tomboy, to go to Chicago to bring back a famed stage actress. She ... See full summary »

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A Wild West cow town is starving for entertainment, and it falls upon Calamity Jane, a rowdy, gun-toting,jeans-wearing tomboy, to go to Chicago to bring back a famed stage actress. She brings instead the star's maid, who settles in the town, but Jane's love interest falls for her. Written by WesternOne

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12 November 1963 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Connections

Remake of Calamity Jane (1953) See more »

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Carol Burnett and cast of Broadway stalwarts almost save silly show
25 May 2017 | by (Bolton, Ct./Jersey City, NJ; United States) – See all my reviews

The 1953 Doris Day movie CALAMITY JANE with its essentially second rate Sammy Fain/Frances Webster score is one of the most famous "closeted" westerns around - with many feeling Day was pretending not to play a lesbian heroine thanks to a non-credible "love interest" tacked on with Howard Keel for the 50's middle America audience.

A decade later (12November1963) CBS television capitalized on the popularity of singing comedienne Carol Burnett with a 90 minute remake stocked with strong Broadway performers (a slightly over-the-hill Art Lund from Frank Loesser's MOST HAPPY FELLA as Bill Hickock, comedian Bernie West of Julie Styne's BELLS ARE RINGING as saloon keeper Henry Miller, Don Chastain of Richard Rodgers' NO STRINGS as secondary love interest Lt. Gilmartin and Cathryn Damon of John Kander's A FAMILY AFFAIR and soon to be in his FLORA THE RED MENACE - probably best known for the Off-Broadway revival of Rodgers' THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE as the illusive feminine ideal, Adelaide Adams). Those who enjoyed them here should check out their Cast Albums in better shows! The excellent Katie Brown as the comic maid mistaken for Ms. Adams does not have significant Broadway credits but her voice is indistinguishable from ANNIE's great "Miss Hannigan" (a role Ms. Burnett would play in films) Dorothy Loudon!

This TV movie essentially tracks the earlier color film and shoehorns in most of the songs - including a couple ("Whip Crack-a-Way" and "Once I Had A Secret Love") which had passing popularity when first exposed in the film. The TV kinescope making the rounds (to my knowledge it has never been formally issued on home video) has the commercials from sponsors Lipton Tea and Monsanto, and only credits for the score's composer or lyricist in the crawl at the very end - apparently supplying a few songs for popular Disney animated films like PETER PAN and others didn't rate with the TV producers like Broadway "names" with bigger hits. It's a pity because, while undeniably second tier, the score is consistently enjoyable. The silly "Woman's Touch" sounds like something written for that Disney PETER PAN! It's also interesting in that final crawl that the TV production was based on a "Stage Adaptation" by Charles K. Freeman and orchestrations by the great Philip L. Lang! Both apparently are still available through Tams-Witmark. It gets done from time to time.

Ironically, Carol Burnett's broad comedy as the "tomboy" Calamity - even with her breast-emphasizing costumes - removes any sex or even any closeted sexual innuendo from the production. This despite the pass made at a clueless Calamity by a chorus girl back stage in Chicago where she is looking for Adelaide Adams and the hysterical fit thrown by the undressed maid when she mistakes Calamity for a man (or even the maid deciding to move IN with Calamity when they get back to their western town!).

The musical show remains less than top tier entertainment, but worth the time for stage-star gazing and die hard Carol Burnett fans. The production values are high for a 60's TV musical and this was the main musical offering Burnett was involved in between her star-making triumph in Mary Rodgers' ONCE UPON A MATTRESS and the initially smash star turn in Julie Styne's FADE OUT FADE IN (which ended her initial Broadway career when she walked away from it for her TV career - leading to threatened suits and a lost arbitration with her own union).

The romantic denouements in CALAMITY JANE remain totally 60's sexist and foolishly unbelievable, but suspend disbelief and you'll have fun. In many ways it's more enjoyable than the original film.


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