This film adaptation of Irving Berlin's classic musical stars Betty Hutton as gunslinger Annie Oakley, who romances fellow sharpshooter Frank Butler (Howard Keel) as they travel with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Previously off target when it comes to love, Annie proves you can get a man with a gun in this battle-of-the-sexes extravaganza, which features timeless numbers like "Anything You Can Do" and "There's No Business Like Show Business."
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A story very loosely based on the love story of Annie Oakley and Frank Butler who meet at a shooting match. Fabulous music although the lead characters have virtually nothing to do with the actual historical figures. Annie joins Frank Butler in Col. Cody's Wild West Show. They tour the world performing before Royalty as well as the public at large.
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Despite the fact that Ethel Merman wasn't even considered by MGM to repeat her Broadway triumph and Judy Garland fell by the way side, Annie Get Your Gun is still as alive and as fresh as the day it debuted on Broadway and for 1147 performances starting in 1946. It was Irving Berlin's biggest stage success both quantitatively and qualitatively. It sure had the most hit songs coming out of it, maybe the most for any Broadway show.nnBecause they had Garland, so they thought at MGM, for box office, producer Arthur Freed felt they could go with an unknown for Frank Butler. Both John Raitt and Howard Keel tested for the role and Keel won the toss. Then Keel broke his ankle falling off a horse on the set and they shot closeups and around him, putting pressure on Judy Garland's fragile psyche. On top of that Frank Morgan who was playing Buffalo Bill died suddenly in the middle of the film. Most of it had to be reshot when Betty Hutton was borrowed from Paramount.nnAnnie Get Your Gun was the perfect musical to appeal to the Rosie the Riveter crowd who competed and won in a man's world during World War II. Those women who became feminist icons certainly identified with another feminist icon in Annie Oakley.nnThe real Annie Oakley was not as brassy as her character in Annie Get Your Gun. By all accounts Phoebe Annie Mosee, aka Annie Oakley was a quiet retiring woman when away from the spotlight. She let her skill with weaponry do her talking.nnIrving Berlin wrote so many hits out of this film it's staggering. Ballads like They Say It's Wonderful and The Girl That I Marry were recorded by many artists down to the present. My Defenses are Down also sold quite a few platters back in the day.nnBut of course the theatrical profession got its anthem when Irving Berlin wrote There's No Business Like Show Business. There's a really fine recording of it that Bing Crosby, Dick Haymes and the Andrews Sisters did of it with the flipside being Anything You Can Do also another gem from this show.nnSome songs didn't make the cut. A good one that Ethel Merman did called I Got Lost in His Arms is absent from this film, a pity. And Berlin wrote a song called Let's Go West Again which was to be done on the cattle boat by Hutton and the ensemble was cut. Al Jolson made a recording of it for Decca though.nnLouis Calhern and Edward Arnold as Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill play a fine pair of frontier rogues. Calhern captured the character of the real later Cody quite well.nnWith feminist issues by now means settled, Annie Get Your Gun is maybe more relevant now than when it first came out.
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