Sunday, Sep 2020
Director: Norman Mcleod
Screenwriters: Frank Tashlin & Edmund Hartmann
Length: 91 minutes
Released: 1948

pale faceA silly, but entertaining Western comedy with Jane Russell playing the skilled and feared Calamity Jane and Hope in his nervous, coward-with-a-good-heart role as Painless Peter Potter, the mail-order dentist who unintentionally heads West with in wagon train.

With such frightened remarks as, "Its not the Indians I'm afraid of, its their attitudes -- they're hatchet-happy..." and his clownish Western attire, Hope is his usual sometimes-funny self in this Western send-up. A relatively early Hope performance, we see some of his vaudeville training on display with his physical pranks, dancing and especially his more-than-adequate crooning of the Academy Award winning song, "Buttons & Bows". Its an old, American song-and-dance, funny man in the Old West. His entertaining skills and charms are evident and he does not disappoint.

Paleface is a gender-bending Western, with the leading lady as the gun-slinging hero. This is a nice change and Jane Russell fares well as a light Western hero and Hope's straight woman. The movie tries to present a story and falters when the plot is its focus. Hope's shtick is what carries the film and it seems at its best when it acts as a comedy with a Western background instead of a Western with comedy.

The Paleface make heap good money, spawning a sequel Son of Paleface in 1952 and a re-make, The Shakiest Gun in the West with Don Knotts in 1968.

The Paleface is undoubtedly entertaining, but with Western credentials which are questionable at best, we happily call it CAMP.

--JED

Cast:

  • Bob Hope .... 'Painless' Peter Potter
  • Jane Russell ....Calamity Jane
  • Robert Armstrong .... Terris
  • Iris Adrian .... Pepper
  • Bobby Watson .....Toby Preston
  • Jackie Searl .... Jasper Martin
  • Joseph Vitale .... Indian Scout
  • Charles Trowbridge .... Governor Johnson
  • Clem Bevans .... Hank Billings
  • Jeff York .... Big Joe
  • Stanley Andrews .... Commissioner Emerson
  • Wade Crosby .... Jeb
  • Chief Yowlachie .... Chief Yellow Feather
  • Iron Eyes Cody .... Chief Iron Eyes
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