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The Paleface (1948)

1:48 | Trailer
Calamity Jane is dispatched to find out who's smuggling rifles to the Indians, and winds up married to a hapless correspondence-school dentist as part of her cover.


Norman Z. McLeod


Edmund L. Hartmann (original screenplay) (as Edmund Hartmann), Frank Tashlin (original screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Bob Hope ... 'Painless' Peter Potter
Jane Russell ... Calamity Jane
Robert Armstrong ... Terris
Iris Adrian ... Pepper
Bobby Watson ... Toby Preston (as Robert Watson)
Jackie Searl ... Jasper Martin (as Jack Searl)
Joseph Vitale ... Indian Scout
Charles Trowbridge ... Gov. Johnson
Clem Bevans ... Hank Billings
Jeff York ... Big Joe
Stanley Andrews ... Commissioner Emerson
Wade Crosby ... Jeb
Chief Yowlachie ... Chief Yellow Feather
Iron Eyes Cody ... Chief Iron Eyes
John Maxwell ... Village gossip


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 A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Perfect Team! A Perfect Theme! A Perfect Scream! They Belong Together! See more »


Comedy | Family | Western


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


There is also a Painless Potter traveling dentist in Erich von Stroheim's Greed (1924). 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 »


[last lines]
'Painless' Peter Potter: What do you want, a happy ending?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Remade in 1968 as The Shakiest Gun in the West, starring Don Knotts and Barbara Rhoades. See more »


Referenced in Jane Russell - Der Star aus dem Heu (2006) See more »


Meetcha Round The Corner
Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Sung by Iris Adrian (dubbed by Annette Warren)
Then danced by Bob Hope and Iris Adrian
See more »

User Reviews

nice western spoof
14 May 2011 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

I confess a weakness for the Bob Hope of the '40s - cute, funny, and guileless. His cowardly persona played well in many films.

"The Paleface" is the story of Calamity Jane (Jane Russell) being broken out of jail and offered a full pardon by the government if she can track down who is running guns to the Indians. Unfortunately, the man who is to accompany her on the wagon train to investigate is murdered. While running from people out to get her, she ends up in the office of Painless Peter Potter, a dentist who has to use a manual when he's working on a patient. He has his own wagon; Jane recruits him to marry her and join the wagon train.

Hope and Russell are great together. She's gorgeous in color wearing a variety of costumes. Hope is very funny, and he gets to introduce the song "Buttons 'n' Bows." One of the best scenes is Painless Peter trying to pull a tooth; another is an Indian who inadvertently inhales Peter's laughing gas.

Not exactly politically correct by today's standards, but it's still fun and wonderful to see these classic film stars, whose number is dwindling with alarming speed.

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Release Date:

17 December 1948 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Paleface See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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