Film of the Week-Calamity Jane-17.05.21.

It is two years since Doris Day left us but her memory through her singing and films endures and her comedy musical western, Calamity Jane was the film she liked most citing the fun she had making it and the ten great songs, including ‘Secret Love’ that became something of an anthem for her.

Made in 1953 and very loosely based on the real Calamity Jane who looked nothing like Doris, it is a rootin’ tooting sing along western set in Deadwood where the Golden Garter saloon owner is desperate to hire a replacement female singing star when the one he has hired turns out to be male. Calamity boasts that she can bring the most famous star Adelaid Adams from Chicago but accidentally brings back her maid by mistake, causing a riot and embarrassment for all, including Howard Keel as Wild Bill Hickock dressed as an Indian mother.

With Keel borrowed from MGM, this was Warner Bros answer to ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and they had a hit that endures and continues with a stage musical and sing -a long versions popular at RBC. As for Doris Day she sparkles with boundless energy, comedy timing and exuberance matched by Howard Keel in one of his most relaxed and enjoyable performances. For sheer entertainment this is unbeatable, and it is on the BBC I-Player for the next month.

Bill Cunningham