It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the part of Annie Oakley than the irrepressible
Betty Hutton the star of so many singing/dancing light entertainments of the
1940s and ’50s. But as this DVD’s special features show, MGM’s first choice
for the role was Judy Garland and in fact we are shown Judy singing , ‘Doin’
What Comes Natur’lly’ and ‘I’m an Indian Too’, filmed before she had to be replaced
because of her illness. It has to be said that Judy’s loss was our gain for
she could not beat Betty Hutton’s bounce and exuberance.
Annie Get Your Gun won an Oscar for adaption scoring for Adolph Deutsch
(see our review of the new Marco Polo album of five of his Warner Bros. scores
on this site this month.). The musical brims with memorable Irving Berlin melodies
including: ‘Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly, and ‘You Can’t Get a Man With A Gun’.
(Annie Oakley was the sharpshooter star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show that
toured America and Europe; and, in that song, she was ruefully accepting that
her prowess could not win the heart of her fellow performing crackshot, Frank
Butler (the suave and popular baritone, Howard Keel). Then are so many other
memorable tunes too: ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’, ‘I Got the Sun
in the Morning’ and Howard Keel’s big romantic song, ‘The Girl That I Marry’
- and his hilarious duet with Betty, ‘Anything You Can Do (I can do better)’.
This DVD release has great clarity of picture and sound.
For a happy evening in, don’t hesitate.