Initially, Doris Day‘s acting in the 1953 Calamity Jane is self-conscious, rather phony, but it improves as the movie goes on; and needless to say she performs outstandingly in her musical numbers.
The choreography for the song, “Just Blew In From the Windy City,” really has Day travelling, doing everything but jumping through hoops, and the tune resembles the other tunes by being snappily fun. The nice ballad, “Secret Love,” is a truncated “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” but both it and another ballad, “The Black Hills of Dakota,” deserve their places here.
Doris is a lot cuter than the real—and homely—Calamity Jane, although for a long time zero femininity emanates from her. Enter the undeniably feminine Allyn Ann McLarie to balance things out. A good singer, she arouses the interest of a great singer, Howard Keel (as Wild Bill Hickok).
Most of the films of David Butler, who directed CJ, I’ve never heard of, but I’m glad I’ve heard of this one. It is a winsome entertainment.