Saturday, April 22, 2017

Chris' #84: The Paleface (Norman McLeod, 1948)

Starring: Bob Hope, Jane Russell, Robert Armstrong, Iris Adrian
Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Writers: Jack Rose, Melville Shavelson
Release Date: December 24, 1948

Quick Synopsis: Calamity Jane is dispatched to find out who's smuggling rifles to Native Americans, and winds up married to a hapless correspondence school dentist as part of her cover.

First Time
March 2012. It was a Netflix DVD rental and I may have watched this one with Jeff? I can't remember. Between late 2011 and early 2012, I was on big Bob Hope kick and saw many of his movies for the first time.

Why it's on the List
I love Bob Hope. How could you not? I love his cowardly movie persona and it'll never feel stale to me. His physical appearance, his voice, his delivery--they're all wrapped up in a great comedic package. He's one of my favorite performers of all-time, and if I'm ever in a bad mood, all I have to do is put on a Bob Hope movie to get out of it.

Another great thing about Bob is that he plays off of other actors so well; The Paleface is a prime example of this. Pairing Bob's cowardice with the true grit of Jane Russell is a match made in heaven. I haven't seen Russell in much, but every time I have, she's been amazing. To be pervy for a second (I'm adopting that from Brandon since it's accurate here), she's obviously very sexy in this. But more than that, I like her whole vibe; she's a badass who's perfect for the role of Calamity Jane.

Hope gets top billing in this, but I like that he and Russell both have their own storylines and character arcs. The romance between the two isn't overdone; Russell's feelings for Hope play out in a very natural way. There isn't a scene where Calamity Jane confides in someone that she's developing a fondness for "Painless" Potter. The script doesn't patronize the audience in that way.

My favorite moments occur when our two characters arrive in Buffalo Flats. Hope then gets to play the role of an intrepid cowboy, and it's very well done and hilarious. I regret not writing down my favorite jokes when I rewatched it this morning, but that entire sequence had me laughing a ton.

Additional Notes/Stats
  • This is one of two Bob Hope movies on my list. I'll be writing about the another one tomorrow. I could have easily added more, but ultimately I decided to go with my top two for this list.
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is another great Jane Russell movie, but it didn't make my list. This is it for her, and really, I need to see more of her work. His Kind of Woman and Double Dynamite look interesting.
  • I haven't seen the sequel, Son of Paleface, nor the 1922 Paleface with Buster Keaton.


  1. This is a great pick! I didn't expect to see it. I grew up on this and had many Jane Russell fantasies. I also recommend The Princess and the Pirate.

    1. Thanks to my old CR5FC blog, I see that I watched it back in January of 2012. But I'm due for a rewatch.