AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Paleface
Director: Norman Z. McLeod (Dir)
Release Date:   24 Dec 1948
Production Date:   28 Jul--1 Oct 1947; addl scenes: 10 Oct 1947 and 22 Jan 1948
Duration (in mins):   89 or 91
Duration (in reels):   10
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Cast:   Bob Hope ("Painless" Peter Potter)  
    Jane Russell (Calamity Jane)  
    Robert Armstrong (Terris)  
    Iris Adrian (Pepper)  
    Robert Watson (Toby Preston)  
    Jack Searl (Jasper Martin)  
    Joseph Vitale (Indian scout)  
    Charles Trowbridge (Governor Johnson)  
    Clem Bevans (Hank Billings)  
    Jeff York (Joe)  
    Stanley Andrews (Commissioner Emerson)  
    Wade Crosby (Jeb)  
    Chief Yowlachie (Chief Yellow Feather)  
    Iron Eyes Cody (Chief Iron Eyes)  
    John Maxwell (Village gossip)  
    Tom Kennedy (Bartender)  
    Henry Brandon (Wapato, Medicine Man)  
    Francis J. McDonald (Lance)  
    Frank Hagney (Greg)  
    Skelton Knaggs (Pete)  
    Olin Howland (Undertaker)  
    George Chandler (First patient)  
    Nestor Paiva (Second patient)  
    Earl Hodgins (Clem)  
    Arthur Space (Zach)  
    Edgar Dearing (Sheriff)  
    Dorothy Grainger (Bath house attendant)  
    Charley Cooley (Mr. "X")  
    Eric Alden (Bob)  
    Babe London (Woman on wagon train)  
    Loyal Underwood (Bearded character)  
    Billy Engle (Pioneer)  
    Al M. Hill (Pioneer)  
    Houseley Stevenson (Pioneer)  
    Margaret Field (Guest)  
    Laura Corbay (Guest)  
    Patsy O'Byrne (Charwoman, in bathhouse)  
    Lorna Jordan (Girl in bathouse)  
    Jody Gilbert (Woman in bathouse)  
    Harry Harvey (Justice of the peace)  
    Paul E. Burns (Justice of the peace)  
    Hall Bartlett (Handsome cowboy)  
    Stanley Blystone (Onlooker)  
    Bob Kortman (Onlooker)  
    Oliver Blake (Western character)  
    Lane Chandler (Tough looking galoot)  
    Syd Saylor (Cowboy)  
    Walden Boyle (Hotel clerk)  
    John "Skins" Miller (Bellhop)  
    Len Hendry (A westerner)  
    Duke York (Henchman)  
    Ethan Laidlaw (Henchman)  
    Rolando Barrera (Indian)  
    Rudolph Valentino [Actor, ca. mid-1940s] (Indian)  
    Dick Elliott (The mayor)  
    Sharon McManus (Child)  
    Carl Andre (Horseman)  
    Ted Mapes (Horseman)  
    Trevor Bardette (Horseman)  
    Kermit Maynard (Horseman)  
    Paul Dunn    
    Jerry Hunter    
    Eugene Persson    
    Billy Andrews    
    Marlyn Gladstone    
    June Glory    
    Maria Tavares    
    Betty Hannon    
    Dee La Nore    
    Charmienne Harker    
    Jerry James    
    William Meader    
    Dorothy Abbott    
    Lee Blanchard    
    Kuka Tuitama    
    Ralph Gomez    
    Milton Frieburn    
    Sonny Chorre    
    Ralph Willingham    
    Titus Spencer    
    LeRoy Johnson    
    Tim Nelson    
    Chick Hannon    
    Ethel Bryant    
    Dick Farnsworth    

Summary: Sharpshooter and outlaw Calamity Jane is released from prison in order to catch renegades who have been smuggling guns to the Indians. She is ordered to Fort Deerfield, where she plans to join up with lawyer Jim Hunter and pose with him as a pioneer couple traveling West. Hunter is killed before Jane reaches him, but has left word for her to contact a friend of his named Hank Billings in the small town of Buffalo Flats. Jane is followed there, and makes a narrow escape with "Painless" Peter Potter, a timid, quack correspondence school dentist, whom she marries for the wagon train trip. Painless, completely oblivious to Jane's ulterior motives for marrying him, attempts to make love to her, but is met with a sharp thud on the back of his head every time he tries to kiss her. During an Indian attack on a pioneer camp, Jane deftly kills nearly a dozen Indians singlehandedly, but lets everyone, including Painless, believe he did the killing, hoping that the renegades will believe he is a federal agent. Meanwhile, in Buffalo Flats, Toby Preston, the renegades' leader, receives word that a new federal agent is about to arrive with the wagon train. When the wagon train pulls into town, Jane learns from Hank that two loads of dynamite came with them. Believing him to be the agent, Preston's men immediately attempt to get rid of Painless by ordering a saloon girl named Pepper to seduce him, thereby inciting the lethal jealousy of her boyfriend Joe. Painless talks tough and gives Joe until sundown to get out of town, and Jane decides to let him be killed in order to get rid of him. At the last minute, as Painless walks out into the street to meet Joe for a duel, Jane decides to save Painless in order to use him as bait, and shoots for him from a window, killing Joe. Hank later enters Jane and Painless' room with an arrow in his back and tells her that the dynamite is in the undertaker's parlor. Jane sends Painless after the dynamite, and he bravely holds up the renegades, but then is abducted by an Indian. He and Jane are then taken hostage at an Indian camp, where she confesses that she married him to aid her in catching the outlaws, but now loves him. Also at the camp is the white turncoat, Jasper Martin, whom Jane recognizes as one of the governor's aides. As Jane is tied to a stake and prepared for burning, Painless, transformed by Jane's love, rigs the dynamite to blow, and they escape. Later, as Jane and Painless leave for their honeymoon, she is pulled from the wagon by one of the horses and dragged off into the distance. 

Production Company: Paramount Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Norman Z. McLeod (Dir)
  Alvin Ganzer (Asst dir)
  Danny McCauley (2d asst dir)
  Mickey Moore (2d asst dir)
  Gordon Jennings (Dir, 2d unit)
  Richard McWhorter (Asst dir, 2d unit)
  Ralph Axness (Asst dir, 2d unit)
Producer: Robert L. Welch (Prod)
Writer: Edmund Hartmann (Orig scr)
  Frank Tashlin (Orig scr)
  Jack Rose (Addl dial)
  Monte Brice (Contr on spec seq)
  Barney Dean (Contr on spec seq)
  Melville Shavelson (Contr wrt)
Photography: Ray Rennahan (Dir of photog)
  Archie Dalzell (Cam op)
  Howard Kelly (Gaffer)
  Ed Henderson (Stills)
  Dev Jennings (Cam, 2d unit)
  Wallace Kelley (Cam, 2d unit)
  Charles Leahy (Cam asst)
Art Direction: Hans Dreier (Art dir)
  Earl Hedrick (Art dir)
  Al Roelofs (Art dir asst)
Film Editor: Ellsworth Hoagland (Ed)
  Floyd Knudtson (Asst cutter)
Set Decoration: Sam Comer (Set dec)
  Bertram Granger (Set dec)
  Art Camp (Props)
  J. Thompson (Props, 2d unit)
  Charles Mason (Props asst)
Costumes: Mary Kay Dodson (Cost)
  Gile Steele (Men's ward)
  Ed Fitzharris (Ward)
  Sam Levine (Ward)
  Grace Harris (Ward)
Music: Victor Young (Mus score)
Sound: Gene Merritt (Sd rec)
  John Cope (Sd rec)
  George Hamer (Rec)
Special Effects: Gordon Jennings (Spec photog eff)
  Farciot Edouart (Process photog)
  Wallace Kelley (Transparencies cam)
Dance: Billy Daniels (Dances staged by)
  Josephine Earl (Dance dir)
Make Up: Wally Westmore (Makeup supv)
  Charles Berner (Makeup artist)
  Bill Woods (Makeup artist)
  F. Thayer (Makeup artist)
  LaVaughn Speer (Hair)
  Gertrude Reade (Hair)
  Dean Cole (Hair)
Production Misc: Joe DeYong (Tech adv)
  R. L. Johnston (Prod mgr)
  Charles Woolstenhulme (Prod mgr)
  Andy Durkus (Asst prod mgr, 2d unit)
  Stanley Goldsmith (Asst prod mgr, 2d unit)
  John Maxwell (Dial coach)
  Len Hendry (Dial coach)
  Joe Egli (Casting)
  Al Mann (Casting, 2d unit)
  Eddie Morse (Casting, 2d unit)
  Al Jermy (Pub)
  Claire Behnke (Scr supv)
  Marvin Weldon (Scr clerk, 2d unit)
  Darrell Turnmire (Grip)
  Paul Franz (Stage eng)
  Tony Denocenzo (Cableman)
  Darrell Turnmire (Grip)
  John Smirch (Mike grip)
  E. Newmeyer (Grip, 2d unit)
  Joe Schuster (Elec)
  Bill Hurley (Livestock)
Stand In: Don House (Stunts)
  Buster Wiles (Stunts)
  George Bruggeman (Stunts)
  Robert St. Angelo (Stunts)
  R. Morales (Stunts)
  L. Greenhill (Stunts)
  P. Moore (Stunts)
  Henry Wills (Double for Bob Hope)
  W. Willingham (Double for Jane Russell)
Color Personnel: Natalie Kalmus (Technicolor col consultant)
  Monroe W. Burbank (Assoc)
  Paul Hill (Technicolor cam)
  Harry Marsh (Technicolor cam)
Country: United States

Songs: "Buttons and Bows" and "Meetcha 'Round the Corner," music and lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans; "Get a Man," music and lyrics by Joseph J. Lilley.
Composer: Ray Evans
  Joseph J. Lilley
  Jay Livingston

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Paramount Pictures, Inc. 24/12/1948 dd/mm/yyyy LP2183 Yes

PCA NO: 12786
Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

 
Genre: Western
Sub-Genre: with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Calamity Jane
  Impersonation and imposture
  Marriage--Forced by circumstances
  Outlaws
  Renegades
  Sharpshooters
 
Subjects (Minor): Dentists
  Duels
  Duplicity
  Dynamite
  Explosions
  Forts
  Governors
  Hostages
  Indians of North America
  Jealousy
  Quacks and quackery
  Rescues
  Saloons
  Singers
  Timidity
  Transformation
  Wagon trains

Note: In the film's closing scene, after Jane Russell is dragged off, Bob Hope says to the camera, "What do you want, a happy ending?" According to a Paramount News item, Paramount negotiated with representatives of Howard Hughes, who at the time of production had Russell under personal contract, to obtain the actress for this film. Information in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals the following information about the production: The filmmakers originally considered Barbara Stanwyck for the part of "Calamity Jane." The wagon chase scene was shot on location in Chatsworth, and other scenes were shot at China Flats, the Conejo Airport and the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth, all in CA. HR news items include the following actors in the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed: Clint Dorrington, Speed Hansen, Ethel Greenwood, Marion Gray, Victor Travers, Al Stewart, Harry Ansel, Elmo Lincoln, Jack Ford, Tex Driscoll, The Cirillo Brothers--Michael, Charles and Tony--Robert Espinoza, James Archuletta, Richard Numena and Chief Sky Eagle.
       Songwriters Jay Livingston and Ray Evans won an Academy Award for Music for their song "Buttons and Bows." Although Paramount News reported in Oct 1947 that the Robert Mitchell Boychoir had been signed to sing "Buttons and Bows" in Paleface , the song was performed in the film as a solo by Bob Hope. A recording of the song was released prior to the film's opening, and several reviews mention that it became a hit without the aid of the film. A reported three million copies of the record and 700,000 copies of the sheet music were sold as of 1949, when orchestra leader and songwriter Freddie Rich filed a plagiarism suit over the song. Paramount, Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, Decca, Famous Music, RCA Victor, Columbia Records and Capital Records were named as defendants in the half-million-dollar suit. After "Buttons and Bows" was used in the film's 1952 sequel, Son of Paleface , Rich, who claimed portions of the song were taken from his score for Paramount's 1942 film Wildcat (see below, added $250,000 to his estimate of damages. According to various sources, twenty-two to thirty-two bars of "Buttons and Bows" were in question. A jury turned in a verdict in favor of Paramount, and Rich lost a later appeal in Feb 1955.
       As noted above, in 1952, Hope and Russell starred in a sequel to The Paleface called Son of Paleface , directed by Frank Tashlin. In 1968, The Paleface was remade into The Shakiest Gun in the West , with Alan Rafkin directing and Don Knotts and Barbara Rhoades starring. Among the many other films featuring Martha Jane Canary, popularly known as "Calamity Jane," are: the 1923 Famous Players-Lasky film Wild Bill Hickock , directed by Clifford S. Smith and starring Ethel Grey Terry and William S. Hart (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.6360); the 1936 Cecil B. DeMille film The Plainsman , starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.3472); the 1949 film Calamity Jane and Sam Bass , directed by George Sherman, and starring Yvonne de Carlo and Howard Duff (see above); and the 1995 United Artists film Wild Bill , directed by Walter Hill, and starring Ellen Barkin and Jeff Bridges. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   23 Oct 1948.   
Daily Variety   20 Oct 48   p. 3, 9
Daily Variety   22 Feb 1955.   
Film Daily   20 Oct 48   p. 8.
Harrison's Reports   23 Oct 1948.   
Hollywood Citizen-News   1 Jul 1953.   
Hollywood Reporter   1 Aug 47   p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Aug 47   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Aug 47   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Sep 47   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Sep 47   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Sep 47   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Sep 47   p. 13, 16
Hollywood Reporter   29 Sep 47   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Oct 48   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Dec 48   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Jun 1953.   
Hollywood Reporter   1 Jul 1953.   
Hollywood Reporter   2 Jul 1953.   
Hollywood Reporter   14 Jul 1953.   
Los Angeles Times   19 Dec 1948.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   30 Oct 48   p. 4366.
New York Times   16 Dec 48   p. 41.
Variety   20 Oct 48   p. 11.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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