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Doris Day as Calamity Jane: 6 Quotes About Iconic Role

By    |   Tuesday, 12 May 2015 02:55 PM

One of Doris Day's most famous roles was the out-of-character, for her anyway, portrayal of Calamity Jane in the movie of the same name. While the majority of reviews praised her portrayal as one of the best that she had done, other felt that Day went a bit over the top in her take on the Wild West heroine. Here are some quotes that delve into Day's portrayal.

1. The BBC Radio Times was one of those that thoroughly enjoyed Day's time on screen.

"Doris Day rides the Deadwood Stage across the screen and into our hearts"

2. In the book, Doris Day, Her Own Story, by A.E. Hotchner, Day herself discussed the iconic role.

"In 1953, I made one of my favorite musicals, Calamity Jane. I loved portraying Calamity Jane, who was a rambunctious, pistol-packing prairie girl (I lowered my voice and stuck out my chin a little). I can't say that the physical high jinks of jumping on horses, bars, wagons, and belligerent men or doing pratfalls in muddy streams seemed to be particularly exhausting. I had a great working relationship with my costar, Howard Keel, and absolutely first-rate songs to sing (by Sammy Fain and Paul Webster), one of which, 'Secret Love,' became my third million-plus recording and won that year's Academy Award."

3. In a review of the movie in The Independent, Y. David Thomson talked about the transition that the character makes during the film.

"She acts like the biggest tomboy of all time, so much so that you might be forgiven for thinking it's a man pretending to be a gal who wants to be a boy. And the forlorn purpose of the film - this is very much according to 1953 – is to make the gal behave like a lady. She makes friends with a saloon showgirl, and Doris (who had a famously good figure) suddenly realizes that women have different bodies from men. In no time at all, she's turned her ramshackle cabin into a darling domesticated cottage, she's wearing dresses, she's done her hair and she's singing "Once I had a Secret Love" (for Bill, of course).

4. Writing for Turner Classic Movies, film reviewer Leonard Maltin cannot hide his passion for Day as Calamity Jane.

"Doris is irresistible as the bombastic, rootin'-tootin' title character in this lively musical, with Keel as Wild Bill Hickok, who only begins to realize his feelings for her when she makes a stab at becoming more "feminine.''

5. Not everyone was as enamored with day's portrayal as Maltin, as displayed by the review by Variety at the film's release.

"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."

6. The same can be said of The New York Times and film critic Bosley Crowther.

"Tomboyishness is not the lady's forte."

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One of Doris Day's most famous roles was the out-of-character, for her anyway, portrayal of Calamity Jane in the movie of the same name.
Tuesday, 12 May 2015 02:55 PM
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