Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
USA, 1950. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Sidney Sheldon, based on the musical play by Dorothy Fields, Herbert Fields. Cinematography by Charles Rosher. Produced by Arthur Freed. Music by Irving Berlin, Adolph Deutsch. Production Design by Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse. Costume Design by Walter Plunkett, Helen Rose. Film Editing by James E. Newcom.
Rousing film adaptation of Irving Berlin’s still-hugely popular musical about legendary Wild West gunslingers Annie Oakley and Frank Butler. Annie is introduced to Buffalo Bill’s travelling show when she beats Butler in a local Ohio shooting contest, leaving the two of them constantly warring between their professional rivalry and their personal feelings for each other. All the songs are scored beautifully, including the famous “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, a shortened “I Got The Sun In The Morning and the Moon At Night” and the beautiful ballad “They Say It’s Wonderful”.
Betty Hutton stars as Oakley, filling in for an ailing Judy Garland, and her appeal is strong though she has a tendency to overdo it; her face must have been extremely tired after all the ridiculous mugs she keeps pulling. Rising star Howard Keel plays Butler, and Louis Calhern (filling in for Frank Morgan following his sudden death just after shooting had commenced) plays Buffalo Bill.
Academy Award: Best Scoring of a Musical Picture
Nominations: Best Cinematography-Colour; Best Art Direction-Colour; Best Film Editing
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Betty Hutton)