First off, Audrey at Fedoras and High Heels awarded me the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. I’m flattered that she chose to recognize me, so a very belated thank you to Audrey!
I kind of went on a musical binge this past weekend. It was Howard Keel’s Summer Under the Stars day, and I got caught up in both Annie Get Your Gun (Sidney, 1950) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Donen, 1954). In all honesty, it wasn’t really Howard Keel that brought me to either film. Betty Hutton is amazing in Annie Get Your Gun, and grabbed my attention from the get-go when I was flipping channels. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a favorite of my mother’s that I just haven’t gotten around to watching, so I took the opportunity since it was on.
Annie Get Your Gun is the fictional biography of sharpshooter Annie Oakley, who goes from her country background to a headliner in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. She sets out to capture the heart of Frank Butler, a fellow sharpshooter in the show, while competing with him for the spotlight.
It’s a musical, based on the Broadway production with music and lyrics written by Irving Berlin and book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields. This role was written as a star vehicle for Ethel Merman, and Betty Hutton steps into the lead here.
This is a showcase for Hutton. She’s all smiles and exuberance as tomboy Annie. She’s athletic and her voice can be brassy, which totally fits this role. Here I’ll make a confession: I know Ethel Merman is a Broadway legend, but if you wanted to torture me, all it would take would be playing her singing Alexander’s Ragtime Band over and over. No offense to Mr. Berlin, but that has to be one of my least favorite songs on the planet. Merman’s singing voice really was suited for belting to the back of a live audience with no amplification, but it just comes across as loud all the time in her film roles. Hutton, who also can belt, has a softer side to her voice that really works in slower songs like They Say It’s Wonderful.
Hutton made the movie for me; she seems to have an unending source of energy. It makes me think back to the first time I saw her act in The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, and how spirited she was in that. Annie Get Your Gun isn’t packed with the big dance numbers like some of the other MGM musicals of the time, but the songs are great (There’s No Business Like Show Business is probably the most famous song out of this musical), there are plenty of laughs and like a good musical, it will leave you with a happy feeling inside.
With that, I will leave you with the other well-known song from Annie Get Your Gun: