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DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #10 (From CALAMITY JANE)

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Just now, SHOGIPIE said:

l watch the clip of Doris Day and l can say that  as far as l am concern she just got better she more she did . l have watched most of her movies  and l just love her in all of them and l can find no wrong in what she does so l am the wrong one t o judge her because l love what she does , weather it is a musical , comedy or drama.

 

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1.    As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? Films followed the post-war focus on re-establishing gender roles within the nuclear family (husbands at work, wives at home). Bringing back characters like Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun (1950) and Jane in Calamity Jane (1953) showed women who were agents controlling their own lives, even if the outcome is a return to the nuclear family with the woman converting to a more “wifely” existence.

2.    How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? She made some delightful lightweight musicals before this, but usually the demands were primarily that she sing and look beautiful. After performing as Calamity Jane, the expectations and demands went up – her tough performance as Ruth Etting opposite James Cagney in Love Me or Leave Me (1955), the anguish she showed opposite James Stewart as the mother of a kidnapped boy in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), brassy Babe in the film version of the musical The Pajama Game (1957). She probably wouldn’t have had her run as top box office draw in the comedies with Rock Hudson and others if not for the string of challenging roles that started with Calamity Jane.

3.    Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer. Historically, Doris Day’s screen persona is sunnier than most people in real life, presumably including Calamity Jane. Within the film, though, it works fine. In the first Daily Dose clip, her enthusiasm carries the day as Jane. Rather than playing it “manly,” she’s more of a Peter Pan, jumping up on bars and confidently challenging strong tough guys like Wild Bill Hickok (Howard Keel). Her screen persona helps make Calamity Jane an energetic protagonist with whom it’s easy to side.

Doris Day.jpg

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    As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why?

This is a film of conforming and fitting in to the expected. Calamity Jane stands out and doesn't fit in. She must conform to get what she wants, which is her love, Bill Hickock. That means she must become submissive and feminine, just as women were expected to be submissive and feminine after the war. Women were expected to return to the home, not continue working. And to be too "tomboyish" was frowned upon.

    How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical?

When I think of how few pictures she made before this and the volume of work after, I'm amazed at the opportunities she was afforded. She played with some of the top male performers of the day in short order. It's almost like "My Dream is Yours" was her life story. She popped up and ran! She matures slightly, and her comedic tendencies come out later in her performances, but I think that's more due to scripting than her innate abilities, although her comedic timing is great.

    Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer.

I think her sunny persona added to the character. If she'd been a serious performer or one with less sun in her sunniness, I don't think Calamity Jane would have been as popular a film, nor would she have given such a wonderful performance. By being sunny and happy or bubbly, she makes the character attractive. She's a great foil for Howard Keel, who is one of my favorites.

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Question 1: 

I think the character of Jane evolves from the 50's paradigm that tomboyish women can only get their man by becoming submissive & more 'feminine' in manner & dress. (As Jane does in pursuit of Lt. Danny played by Phil Carey). Yet, by the end of the film we are introduced to what will - decades later - become the feminist credo for real happiness, self-confidence, pride & fulfillment (whether that includes finding love or not) as being true to yourself and never subjugating or denying your innate nature & character for the approval/acceptance of a man. Someone either accepts you as you are or they don't.  As in Jane's case, she finds her true "Secret Love" in Bill, who ultimately realizes he loves her because of who she really is and doesn't want to change her.  They were equals.

Question 2 & 3:  

Doris Day, as much as I admire her personally and would run & wait in line at Radio City Music Hall to see her latest film & still enjoy them on TCM, was never a great actress. Marginal, yes. No matter what character Day portrayed, you were always aware it was Day. A good actor should pretty much disappear in a role so all you're aware of is the character on screen, not the actor portraying the character.  Some actors are just unable to do that. Some because their off-screen personna is so dominant; others because their acting is just not that good to rise above themselves and/or because they just try too hard, aka: overacting. That was Doris.  Doris was Doris was Doris in "Tea For Two", "Young At Heart", "Pillow Talk", "Teacher's Pet", "Midnight Lace" & scads of others.  But if you loved her & most of her movies, it didn't matter. You almost depended on Doris being Doris because it strangely added to your enjoyment of the movie. 

 

 

 

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Doris Day’s performances in these clips jolt the viewer jolted. She had been a very successful singer with Paul Whiteman, known for her smooth, bright, sweet voice. Her breath control was excellent and she was tonally accurate with a softness in her voice that kept any edges at bay. She made many recordings during that time and of course, from the 50’s on. Today, we know her from her later movies in which a song or two was inserted to show off her talent (and sell recordings) but that cast her in the role women assume in the 50's. In those later movies, she played the stay-at-home wife with several children who must coquettishly keep her husband faithful despite temptations from professional women in his world of work. In Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, for example, her costumes are demur even when she is painting or cleaning the house. In other situations, her body is mostly covered even when she is allowed to be stylish and sexy. She was the epitome of wholesomeness. Of course, it did not hurt that she often played opposite David Niven or in many films with Rock Hudson. If she does raise her voice to argue with her husband, the softness and innate lyrical quality of her voice keeps her from becoming strident. In that way, the audience sympathizes with her, likes her, roots for her. So, these clips play against type from her history future. Therefore, it is hard for us to watch them objectively, especially in a role that demands a more masculine persona-tough on the outside, soft buried deeply within. We just can’t be convinced that Day is that tough. The marshmallow is too close to the surface.

 In the first clip, Annie is introduced as the shotgun for the stage coach. Even with more open-legged positions, Day’s bright voice and smiling face betray hints of masculinity. Her voice even croons a bit (“nest”), a more feminine vocal gesture than Hutton’s rendition. She is made up to look dirty but someone on a stage for 23 miles would not look that good or move as agilely. We are asked to suspend reality when she stands on the too-smooth stage top, again, unconvincing. Here, the men are hostage to the stage and join her in song. When the stage stops, she becomes the Wells Fargo delivery-boy, bringing the isolated town important goods. This gives Day a chance to modulate her voice and really playfully act as she displays the various items, comically playing up to the crowd. This shows her real acting ability. The rest resumes her stature as singer and reaffirms her femininity. When she saunters into the saloon, she hops on the bar and assumes the position of a suggestive dance hall girl but in pants. The use of dialect as she greets customers is cute, again, not masculine. When she finally slaps Keel and he stands, towering over her, their relationship is set as confrontational and competitive, especially when he puts her in her place, away from the gambling table. All in all, the scene introduces the setting, main characters and their relationship. Day is a bone fide actress and adept singer in a role to which she is not suited.

The second clip begins with orchestral music and Day is wearing slacks more common to the domestic women in the 1950’s audience. So, we know this is a transformative scene coming up. After the theme is presented by the orchestra, Day begins her patented crooning about love. This is more of her milieu and what the audience craves. Finally, she is in her proper role as the wholesome femme fatale, personification of women of the era.

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  1. Calamity Jane is fiercely independent. She would likely fall under the category of a tomboy, but she evolves into a softer, more feminine person. Though she is still rough and tumble, she confirms ever so slightly to the idea that women should be more domestic. 
  2. I believe that in the beginning of her career, she was likely doing parts that would get her in the business. As time went on, she had the ability to choose which roles she wanted. Calamity Jane is the sort of role that falls outside the norm of female performances. After this experience, she seemed to go for the more clear romantic lead. 
  3. If anything, Doris Day’s personality draws more people to like the rough exterior of Calamity Jane. If the casting director had chosen a less charismatic actor, Jane would come off as brash and unlikable. A character actor, for example, would bring wit and humour to the role, but charisma is important for the layers of the character to work. 

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1. I feel as if the character of Calamity Jane starts off as a complete rejection of the concept of femininity in film and society in the 1950s. She is so adamantly against any of the outward trappings of womanhood in her clothing, her vocal qualities and her demeanour. Jane is so determined to prove her mettle in her extremely male-dominated line of work that she feels she has to overcompensate by completely abandoning any sense of traditional femininity. As the story progresses to the second scene, we can see that Jane has found a way to make what it means to be a "woman" (both on and off-screen) work for her. There is no hard and set rule ordering her to be the demure and elegant lady in a petticoat, corset, and gown, especially given her daily responsibilities. Trying to be prim and proper not only goes against what her job calls for, but is also a denial of the very core of who she is: an independent, resourceful, and outspoken woman who is a respected leader in her community. However, being all of those things does not mean she has to deny her moments of vulnerability and openheartedness. If anything, she is more in touch with who she really is than at the beginning of the film by embracing this duality.

2. I can't really say that I'm terribly familiar with her filmography before Calamity Jane. However, I do know that as the 1950s progressed, she was falling into her status as a romantic comedy leading lady, sharing the screen numerous times with Rock Hudson, and I'm somewhat familiar with her role in Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much. She was often portrayed as the sweet but witty girl-next-door type, which was in stark contrast with the more overtly sultry roles played by the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. There's a more decidedly flirty femininity in these roles in comparison to Jane - especially at the start of the film - and I imagine her image in Hollywood was in line with how traditional feminine roles were gradually being tempered with slightly more modern ideals as the 50s transitioned into the 60s.

3. I feel as if Doris' persona lends an extra sense of brightness, energy, and chutzpah to the role of Jane. It's important to remember that, while Jane is definitely rough around the edges, she isn't crude, and while she speaks her mind and will call out those around her, she is never mean or malicious. There is both a passionate and caring heart and a relentless optimism that drives Jane in her work, but her fear of not being taken seriously or respected by her male peers compels her to adopt her initially gruff exterior. Once she discovers how to make her status as a woman work for her, the core of who she is - and who Doris is off-screen - still remains, and still inspires her every thought and deed.

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As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why?

Day is a show stopper!!!! This is one of my favorite films, stands the test of time. She breaks the barrier and portrays a brilliant character breaking the norm. No seductive, man pleasing, well mannered, needy gal with Calamity. She is a rootin’ tootin’ high flutin’, amazing, nothing’s going to stand in my way, do what I want sasparilly gem. This role was made for her. No one could have done a better act in my opinion. Day is a pioneer for equality of women hands down. 

How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical?

Day is so versatile, the compassion and authenticity of each and every character she reveals in film is astounding. I believe no other actress in history can play her roles better. There is true humanity, charisma, and growth in everything she does. 

Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer.

Calamity can be done one of two ways......Doris Day style or Robin Weigert style.....either is the perfect portrayal in my opinion. These two cover the full spectrum of what an actor can accomplish in their brilliant interpretation of a single character. 

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As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why?

I think she is almost in her own category (maybe with Betty Hutton's Annie, but I haven't seen that one. I don't find her as pleasant to watch as Doris Day just from the clips I've seen her in from Annie Get Your Gun). Calamity is a complex character, which I love.. she's definitely not a one dimensional woman like so many other characters at the time (like the naive blonde and streetwise brunette of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes). She grows throughout the film. She is more gruff to begin with and very much prideful in being able to shoot and do her job.  I don't think her evolution to bring in a bit of femininity is to "please her man" I think it's within her and falling in love with him brings it out a bit more, but she doesn't lose who she is. 

How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical?

I haven't really seen much of what she did before this film, but I have seen some of the stuff she did after.  This movie shows her comedic abilities, even though I think they're a bit underutilized in her later movies. She is great with physical comedy here, but also in  her line delivery. I love her the most in Calamity Jane because it's a unique role for her. Her other movies don't really seem to show everything that she can do. 

Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer.

I think it definitely adds to the character. Also, she's not just sunny, she displays other emotions, especially frustration.. with Bill, the other men in town and being accepted. Her energy and optimism show through really well and acts to further show the complexity of the character.

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1. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why?

Jane is definitely a independent, energetic, tomboy who has clearly been living a "masculine" lifestyle for quite awhile. She interacts with the men as an equal to them, even though they don't quite see her like that. Later on in the second scene, she shows that even a tomboy can have a softer, gentler side.

3. Does Doris Day's bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer.

I don't think the persona detracts from the role because, in my opinion, having Jane as a bright and sunny character shows the audience that she is happy with who she is and doesn't feel the need to make major changes in order to please people. 

 

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Being a baby-boomer, Doris Day has been part of my cinema and television landscape growing up.  Whether she was in the lighthearted comedies of the late 1940's, or Ruth Etting in "Love Me or Leave Me", Miss Day proves herself to be versatile and most entertaining.  I like Doris from the 1950's better than the 1960's pairings with Rock Hudson and James Garner.  Although I do like "The Thrill of it All" and the soapsuds in the pool.  :) 

I haven't seen "Calamity Jane" in many years, so it is on my re-viewing list.  The aforementioned, "Love Me or Leave Me", I've seen at least 12 times, and even have the soundtrack as well as the DVD.  James Cagney is my favorite actor, so I watch it for his outstanding performance also. 

As previously mentioned, Miss Day is 96 and still with us.  What a treat!  

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I agree, I think “Secret Love” is one of the best songs she ever sang. According to her charity website, this is one of her favorite movies to have been in.

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I just love Doris Day and could watch her films all day long. A beautiful singer and a wonderful dancer and actress. In Calamity Jane, I love seeing her go from tom boy to feminine woman and then back to something in between. Calamity Jane is finally comfortable in her own skin. Deadwood Stage and Secret Love are classics. I heard Doris Day say once on a talk show that her personal favorite was, "Love Me or Leave Me". Another fantastic performance! 

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1. In thinking about how the portrayal of women changed in the movies from 1929 to 1953 when this movie was released, we're seeing something of a mix of the more independent women of the 1930s and 40s and the woman who gives up everything for her man - like we see in Seven brides for seven brothers.  In the clips, Calamity moves from the confident scout in the stage coach scene to a feisty angry woman, both of which have her in very rough clothes and sounding rough and very unfeminine.  The Secret Love scene shows her still in men's clothing but cleaner and better fitting.  She has not changed her hair style though but she he singing is calmer and more confident.  So she's changed somethings but not everything.  

2.  I think I've only ever seen one other Doris Day musical, Love Me or Leave Me (?), a handful of her comedic roles, and one dramatic role (with Rex Harrison as her husband).  She portrays a little too wholesome for my taste sometimes, but I think she could be very funny and she was very good in the movie with Rex Harrison.  It must have been difficult for her to find different kinds of roles when she was typecast as the wholesome mom/wife/girlfriend with a degree of sexiness (the right kind of appropriate sexiness, not slutty) with a fair amount of brains but usually willing to play 2nd fiddle to her husband eventually.

3. I did some reading about Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley and the musicals about them are practically full on fiction.  I'm not sure I understand why they made these musicals at all.  Was it to provide some sort of vehicle for actresses who wanted a less traditional role?  But then they turn those women into almost simpering idiots in order to get the man.  This musical at least doesn't quite do that to Calamity Jane.  The story here is so different than the truth of Calamity's life (which I doubt any studio would have made a movie about).  Doris Day is a great performer but I just shake my head a bit at the contrast between this musical and the truth.

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In the 50s, women were depicted as more feminine- as they had been before WWII. This feminine side of Calamity Jane is seen in the second clip. Even though she is wearing pants, she is also wearing make-up and her hair is done. The song is slower and the language is proper- not colloquial like the first song. As in earlier musicals, it appears as though a woman needs to be made up and proper to attract a man. In the opening sequence, it appears as though the men tolerate Jane’s Tom Boyishness, but do not readily accept her as “one of the guys”- they push her away from the bar and laugh when she falls. 

 

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I confess I've never been drawn to either of these musicals.  I've never particularly cared for the whole western presence in a musical, nor for the big, broad, and brassy way the performances of both the men and women seem to come off.  All of that said, Doris Day does have a completely winning presence, and it's hard not to like her no matter what she is saying or doing.  You can understand why Wham chose her as a superlative about making the sun shine bright in their song.

1) Doris Day, at least in this performance (she isn't like this in a movie like Young at Heart), seems to be at the extreme 'yang' end of the continuum, if I may use the word our professor seems to like.  Marilyn Monroe would be at the extreme 'yin' end, I guess.  In the musical number we saw today, Monroe wields her femininity and sexuality as a precise tool, and with it she possesses a great deal of power.  Day, as Calamity Jane, is her polar opposite - sitting with her legs wide open, wearing trousers, and moving with a more traditionally masculine sort of economy.  She just wants to get from Point A to Point B and doesn't want to be messed with.  

2) Day is always eminently likable.  You can't help but smile.  I haven't seen her in very many things, but it's hard to imagine her as a femme fatale or as the woman everyone loves to hate.  She's no Joan Crawford!  That said, there is a tremendous difference in her performance in these two musical numbers, as our 'curator' points out.  She is so much softer in the second one, and Day brings out the nuances in a way that feels believable.  She doesn't fully abandon the 'Calam' persona, but clearly something has changed.  I find her performance in "Secret Love" much more enjoyable because it feels to me as though she is more comfortable in her own skin.  She's no longer trying to prove something and can just be.

3) I can't form an intelligent opinion on this without seeing the whole movie.  In general, I'm inclined to say no.  It's a 1950s Hollywood musical, so one would hardly come to it thinking, "This is going to be really gloomy and a real downer."  And it's difficult to separate the actor from the performance: actors with a strong persona, like Day, or a Jimmy Stewart (darker roles like those in Vertigo or Winchester '73 notwithstanding), tend to bleed certain inherent characteristics into the skins of the characters they play.  The character is the actor is the character.   

 

  

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At heart, Calamity Jane is "one of the guys", not exactly what you could call man-ish, but certainly not feminine either. Sometimes she tries a little too hard in asserting her equal standing with the men. When she loses her footing and falls at the bar it could be symbolic of her losing a bit of her stature among the men. Of course, she will do whatever it takes to maintain that foothold, even if it means shooting her gun to get up to the bar.

Doris Day had such a wide range of characters in her films and pulled each of them off flawlessly. She could be a lovable tomboy, a sophisticated heiress, a frazzled housewife, and anything in between. She was convincing as rough and tumble Calamity Jane and equally convincing as the terrorized wife in Midnight Lace. She shone in musicals. comedies, dramas, and thrillers alike, and her roles matured as she gained in age and experience.

I think her famous sunny disposition gave a charm to the character of Calamity Jane, with a dash of the feminine, and offset some of the toughness and roughness. Even though the character had a hard exterior, that disposition seeped through like sunshine coming in through small cracks in a dark room, and made her more lovable and easy to watch.

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As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why?

I think that Calamity is a stronger, less glamorous role portayed by many women in earlier musicals. She is kinda on equal footing with the men. She can shoot a gun and ride a horse, but when she gets to the bar...she gets a sassparilly not a shot of whiskey. I think its interesting that she has an attraction to Ally Ann’s character just as the two men do. And even though they to try to dress her up for the dance , you feel that she will continue with the strong Calamity Jane personality.

How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical?

I always found Doris to be a very good actress. In most of her films her characters were dependent on men. Her earlier coton candy kind of films changed into more substantial roles as in Love Me or Leave Me and The Pajama Game. Even when she wasn’t singing like in her films with Rock Hudson, her strong acting abilty shown through. Two of my favorite movies are still please Don’t Eat the Daisies and Teacher’s Pet.

Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer.

Calamity Jane is a bombastic character. Doris Day plays it over the top which is appropriate for the character. She also has tender moments like when she gets hurt when the captain is more attracted to the singer than to her. When she sings Secret Love in her full throated voice style, you feel that she is really in love. No one in movies could laugh like Doris Day. She made you feel that she was really happy!

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2. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why?

Strong female role breaking a bit from the stereotypical glamour, sex sells woman look that many musicals were using. Calamity Jane along with Annie Oakley were strong women who didn't mind getting rough and downright dirty. They held their own with the men and this sometimes made them outcasts with men but mainly with other women. They could be feminine on their own terms but they were much more comfortable as tomboys.

2. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical?

In her earlier musicals like Romance on the High Seas and My Dream is Yours, Day played these young wide-eyed women looking for stardom. Fresh behind the ears and single-facetted. As she aged, she was given great dramatic roles like in Young Man with a Horn and The Winning Team but Warner Bros knew that the money making was in her light and cheery musicals. So at first they casted her back as the woman looking for fame like in Tea for Two and then tried to capitalize on MGMs success with Meet Me in St Louis by putting Day in period musicals like On Moonlight Bay and By the Light of the Silvery Moon. I feel Calamity Jane was the real breakout role she needed to have clout in picking the films she ended up making later. By her amazing portrayal in Jane, Day went on to make films that really showed her range as an actress even if singing was involved. Love Me or Leave MeYoung at Heart, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and even Pajama Game showed her as a strong woman with an edge. A raw nerve that when exposed showed depth and range. They were more complex roles which would lead her into the "Sex" comedies of the late 50s such as Pillow Talk. I'm a huge Doris Day fan and have seen all her movies but these films of hers in the 50s are the golden ones of her career in my opinion.

3. Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer.

I think it adds to the role. Calamity Jane, the real life person, was a performer in Wild Bill's Wild West Show and was said to be quite compassionate. I think Day captures this quality well. Day always seems to be shining for the performance which a great performer does. Day makes Jane truly likable even if she can come off vulgar holding her own in a man's world.

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Dodo was one of my favorite growing up. I had a Doris Day paper doll set in the 1950's.

BTW, it's not "pants", it's "trousers" or "breeches" and she doesn't ride "with her legs spread" (really!!) but astride. Nice horse, though. It matches the one ridden by the boyfriend.

My favorite film of hers is Love Me Or Leave Me.

Don't forget, women's roles in these pictures had nothing to do with actual women, but with the fantasies of men who made the movies. So discussing gender here is not really useful.

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1. In the 50's we were beginning to see more musicals that took place in different time periods, women in the late 1800's West - 7 Brides for 7 Brothers and Annie Get Your Gun among them. The tom-boy role wasn't completely unusual. Day's Jane is a woman trying to fit in with the men, which I suspect is something that was happening more in the 50's, more women entering the workplace, having had the WWII experience of women doing men's work. Society was still fighting against it, but it was slowly starting to change and maybe Calamity Jane is trying to show that? However, even in seeing that we still find a woman who eventually conforms (at least a bit), by trying to be more feminine to get the man. We're still seeing women 'needing' men to help them out of a situation. 

2. At this point in her career Doris Day has begun to move past the lead ingenue role that we saw just a couple of years earlier (Tea for Two, On Moonlight Bay, etc), but she hasn't reached full 'maturity' yet. It's almost as if Calamity Jane represents Day's attempt at becoming more of a grown-up. Shortly after this we see her portray more confident women, or women fighting for something (Pajama Game, Love me or Leave Me, The Man Who Knew Too Much). Then she moves on to more comedies, portraying a professional woman and doing more comedy in her roles opposite Rock Hudson. 

3. I looked up a little about Calamity Jane. It appears her life certainly had more hardship than this film even attempts to portray (similar to the whitewashing in  the MGM Show Boat). Although not really Day's fault her portrayal of Calamity Jane simply shows a perky woman, first being a 'tom-boy' then trying to get the man. I suspect the real Calamity Jane did much conforming, she simply did what she had to do to survive. Doris Day's constant smile doesn't show us any of that!

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How I hate that pratfall at the end of the arrival of the stagecoach scene. It undercuts the energy, competence, and community feeling that the rest of the scene suggests. Doris Day seems believable (at least in musical comedy terms) as a strong woman who is bringing much-appreciated goods to the western town. I think the pratfall is much more a Hollywood desire to keep women in their place than any real development of Jane's character. Some scenes seem fake--like the competition song, "I Can Do Without You." Here Day seems not to be playing the competent woman of the opening scene but a caricature of a backwoods tomboy against the suave and competent Keel. I feel like I am watching a woman play a boy as in an English Christmas pantomime. Every since I was a kid in the 1950's. I liked the final scene--mostly because she is allowed to be romantic but still keep her  individuality as evidenced by her suede pants. She doesn't end in ruffles as so many films of the era would have her do. I always liked her. Light comedy is hard to do well and she had the touch. It's important to recognize that she often played an attractive and successful woman with a job and her own apartment in an era when women couldn't buy homes or get credit cards on their own. I realize that it is natural to compare her with Betty Hutton, especially in view of the parallels with Annie Get Your Gun. They were so different. Hutton had such anarchic energy. No matter what conventions were imposed on her roles, she always seemed like she could bust out of them. 

Side Note: It was poignant to see Day with the cutout of Allyn Ann McLerie, a wonderful dancer and actress who died recently.

 

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This musical is different from other musicals because the women are usually dressing and wearing dresses or something else that stands out. I haven’t seen other Doris Day musicals. Even though she is a tomboy, her personality adds to her character.

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Calamity Jane brings a humor to the role of women that differs from the humor Judy Garland brings to The Pirate or Easter Parade.  This is a humor backed by self assurance.  She may end up the laughing stock, but she doesn't just slink away.  I see this as one of the best movies of Doris Day's career.  She is not the bright eyed wanna be in her early musicals, or the sad woman putting up with a partner unworthy of her a la Young at Heart, nor is she the 60's sterotype of a working woman who is really just waiting for the right man to sweep her off her feet.  As Calamity, she is not being propped up by a man.  She is independent.  Although she ends up "disgraced" by her behavior at the dance, she pulls out of the situation by her determination to make things right.  She realizes her true love, but doesn't totally subjugate herself as noted by her clothing and demeanor in the song, Secret Love. 

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