Calamity Jane (TV Movie 1963) Poster

(1963 TV Movie)

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Carol Burnett's first starring TV role
SimonJack3 August 2018
This rendition of "Calamity Jane" is an okay comedy musical made for TV. As with so many TV movies that were shot on stages for later showing, this one hasn't been issued on DVD as of 2018. I watched it from a taping of the 1963 show.

Carol Burnett was 30 years old at the time of this show, and she had been around TV since 1955. She had starred in the 1959 Broadway musical, "Once Upon a Mattress." She had played roles in some TV series before. But this was her first TV movie, and her first role as the leading star. She is a fine singer with a normal voice. But, she can carry a tune well. And, with her comedy, she is able to carry this production.

Art Lund is good and sings a couple songs as Wild Bill Hickok. Lund's singing and acting career was mostly on Broadway. Most of the rest of the cast are little known other than on Broadway. They do okay here. Besides the few songs and comedy, the show has a couple of dance numbers with some fine choreography.

The video recording quality of the show isn't very good. If one enjoys musicals and comedy, this is worth watching if it can be found in a library or a friend's video collection. But otherwise, it's not something to spend more than a couple dollars on to buy or watch.

Here are some favorite lines form this film.

Calamity Jane, "Well, lemme tell you somethin' right here and now. Whatever I lie about I can prove."

Lt. Danny Gilmartin, "Calamity Jane? The one and only Calamity Jane?" Calamity Jane, "Miss Calamity Jane."

Lt. Danny Gilmartin, "May I have the privilege of calling on you?" Calamity Jane, "I was just going to ask you that same thing."

Lt. Danny Gilmartin, "I know this may sound a little forward..." Calamity Jane, "Out with it." Lt. Gilmartin, "Well, would you..." Calamity, "Yes!" Lt. Gilmartin, "Would you show me everything you know about scouting and dirty Indian fighting?" Calamity, "Well, uh, the scouting shouldn't take too long, and as to the dirty Indian fightin,' we could kinda work that out together on the sofa."

Calamity Jane, "You know, when I thought Danny loved me, I was happy as a butcher's dog."
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Calamity rides again.
mark.waltz1 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Carol Burnett is pretty much the only thing worth tuning in for, an hour long plus sketch, focusing more on schtick than story. It's basically the same set-up as the 1953 Doris Day film, and remaking it only serves as a reminder to its weaknesses in songs and realism. Like the stage and screen versions of Annie Oakley's life, this is pure fable. Burnett's timing is perfect, and having starred in the first stage version of this show, she was the right choice. But it's an extremely flat production, lacking in the color that made the movie seem better than it really was.

The supporting cast is completely filled entirely with unknowns, none of them worth even mentioning. Other than "Secret Love", the score is second date, pretty much mocking what was done better in "Oklahoma!" and "Annie Get Your Gun". A few dance numbers are rousing, but that only serves to point out the score's weakness. Everybody overacts to the hilt, although the drag number is even funnier than the original. Carol gives her all, and at least had the sense not to push this for Broadway.
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Carol Burnett and cast of Broadway stalwarts almost save silly show
eschetic-225 May 2017
The 1953 Doris Day movie CALAMITY JANE with its essentially second rate Sammy Fain/Frances Webster score is one of the most famous "closeted" westerns around - with many feeling Day was pretending not to play a lesbian heroine thanks to a non-credible "love interest" tacked on with Howard Keel for the 50's middle America audience.

A decade later (12November1963) CBS television capitalized on the popularity of singing comedienne Carol Burnett with a 90 minute remake stocked with strong Broadway performers (a slightly over-the-hill Art Lund from Frank Loesser's MOST HAPPY FELLA as Bill Hickock, comedian Bernie West of Julie Styne's BELLS ARE RINGING as saloon keeper Henry Miller, Don Chastain of Richard Rodgers' NO STRINGS as secondary love interest Lt. Gilmartin and Cathryn Damon of John Kander's A FAMILY AFFAIR and soon to be in his FLORA THE RED MENACE - probably best known for the Off-Broadway revival of Rodgers' THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE as the illusive feminine ideal, Adelaide Adams). Those who enjoyed them here should check out their Cast Albums in better shows! The excellent Katie Brown as the comic maid mistaken for Ms. Adams does not have significant Broadway credits but her voice is indistinguishable from ANNIE's great "Miss Hannigan" (a role Ms. Burnett would play in films) Dorothy Loudon!

This TV movie essentially tracks the earlier color film and shoehorns in most of the songs - including a couple ("Whip Crack-a-Way" and "Once I Had A Secret Love") which had passing popularity when first exposed in the film. The TV kinescope making the rounds (to my knowledge it has never been formally issued on home video) has the commercials from sponsors Lipton Tea and Monsanto, and only credits for the score's composer or lyricist in the crawl at the very end - apparently supplying a few songs for popular Disney animated films like PETER PAN and others didn't rate with the TV producers like Broadway "names" with bigger hits. It's a pity because, while undeniably second tier, the score is consistently enjoyable. The silly "Woman's Touch" sounds like something written for that Disney PETER PAN! It's also interesting in that final crawl that the TV production was based on a "Stage Adaptation" by Charles K. Freeman and orchestrations by the great Philip L. Lang! Both apparently are still available through Tams-Witmark. It gets done from time to time.

Ironically, Carol Burnett's broad comedy as the "tomboy" Calamity - even with her breast-emphasizing costumes - removes any sex or even any closeted sexual innuendo from the production. This despite the pass made at a clueless Calamity by a chorus girl back stage in Chicago where she is looking for Adelaide Adams and the hysterical fit thrown by the undressed maid when she mistakes Calamity for a man (or even the maid deciding to move IN with Calamity when they get back to their western town!).

The musical show remains less than top tier entertainment, but worth the time for stage-star gazing and die hard Carol Burnett fans. The production values are high for a 60's TV musical and this was the main musical offering Burnett was involved in between her star-making triumph in Mary Rodgers' ONCE UPON A MATTRESS and the initially smash star turn in Julie Styne's FADE OUT FADE IN (which ended her initial Broadway career when she walked away from it for her TV career - leading to threatened suits and a lost arbitration with her own union).

The romantic denouements in CALAMITY JANE remain totally 60's sexist and foolishly unbelievable, but suspend disbelief and you'll have fun. In many ways it's more enjoyable than the original film.
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Good for a a golden age of television early sixties remake.
Fromclassicbookstofilm15 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I came across this early sixties TV movie gem while looking for other early sixties television movie musical remakes.Carol Burnett's version is almost word for word remake of Doris Day's 1953 film a little different ending but Calamity does still end up with Wild Bill.Carol does a fine job in the remake but she is no Doris Day and people need to remember that and the television production values were not up to par as they are today.Most of the cast with the exception of Carol Burnett and Cathryn Damon I have never heard of but they did a good job.The acting from some of these lesser known actors who were in minor parts some ways were better and some worse than the actors in the 1953 film.The actors playing Wild Bill,Katie Brown,Danny Gilmartin couldn't compete with the likes of Howard Keel,Alyn Ann McLerie and Phil Carey.Cathryn Damon in an early role did a good job as Adelaide Adams but she was no Gail Robbins.Good Entertainment I enjoyed it because today film and television is a big mess butchering classics and modern screenwriters adding their own material and deviating heavily from the original sources (remakes of the works of the Bible,Ben Hur,The Three Musketeers,Pompeii,Dracula)and some of the modern actors can't even act, sing or dance (remakes of Grease,Rocky Horror Picture Show and Footloose sort of prove that)! This television movie can be purchased online and can be viewed at some streaming sites.If you like Carol Burnett pre-Carol Burnett show watch it you might like it.
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