Giving such Wild West characters as Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok a workout in a tuned-in western doubtless had strong possibilities but Warners comes close to missing the stagecoach. Colorful settings and costumes add the entry some sparkle but the ‘book’ is lacking in originality and the players simply are uneasy.
Compensating factor is the total of 11 songs (music by Sammy Fain, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster) which gives the production some entertainment wallop. [Musical numbers staged and directed by Jack Donohue.]
Doris Day works very, very hard at being Calamity and is hardly realistic at all. She’d register fine as a country girl in calico or a cutie from the chorus line but strain shows through in her essaying of the hard and dynamic Calamity character. Howard Keel handles the Bill Hickok assignment with listless amiability.
While flavorful, a number of the Calamity songs suggest other scores of other years. As a matter of fact, the entire film seems a little familiar, having some ingredients in common with Annie Get Your Gun and Oklahoma!. The dialog throughout is commonplace.
1953: Best Song (‘Secret Love’).
Nominations: Best Scoring of a Musical Picture, Sound