The opening sequence of this wonderful musical is pure pleasure, as Doris Day rides the Deadwood stage across the screen and into our hearts.
Day, at the height of her career as America’s singing sweetheart, galloped through this perky, tuneful spoof of the Old West in 1953 and scored one of her biggest movie hits.
This isn’t the real Wild West, of course, but Warner Bros’s Technicolored riposte to MGM’s Annie Get Your Gun (1950) – the studio even poached the same leading man, handsome Howard Keel, who’s excellent here as Wild Bill Hickok.
Spirited cowgirl Calamity Jane brings a glamorous singing star to the Deadwood saloon.
But her new friend turns into a love rival, and Calamity begins to wonder whether a woman’s touch is more effective than a six-gun.
Doris is the tomboy desperado of the title, and the rich score includes one of Doris’s most colossal hit songs, the ever-popular Secret Love. She didn’t sing it to her leading man – She sang it to a horse! Recorded by Day in just one take, it won the best song Oscar.
Day and Howard Keel do full justice to the breezy Sammy Fain-Paul Francis Webster songs such as The Deadwood Stage, I Just Blew In From The Windy City, and The Black Hills of Dakota.
Wild Bill Hickok
Allyn Ann McLerie