Paleface starts out as a pretty solid "B"
oater, but don't let that fool you. The laughs are on their way. With
the promise of a pardon, government officials enlist outlaw Calamity Jane as
an undercover agent to get to the bottom
of gun running to the Indians. The comedy spurs into high gear with the
introduction of Painless Peter Potter, a textbook dentist of dubious
ability. The character is practically lifted from Dark Command, a
John Wayne flick which co-starred Gabby Hayes as a traveling dentist.
Russell arrives in town dressed in feminine
finery to discover Painless Potter at a bath house performing dental
torture. She hooks up with Painless to decoy the gunrunners and together
they join a wagon train. When Indians attack, Jane does the shooting but
Painless gets the credit and when they arrive in the next town,
Painless is hailed as a hero. Now the comedy takes off as Jane digs below
the surface and Painless postures as a with a six shooter.
Paleface grows colorful from Painless' first encounter
with the Indians. It's truly hilarious. Some of the best humor comes through
Indian interaction. There's a wonderful moment with a candle. It's but
a flicker of humor, but absolutely charming. Along the way, Hope puts over
the Academy Award winning song Buttons and Bows with great charm.
The laughs come slower in town and the jokes are somewhat drawn out.
Clever patter is less frequent. One of the better moments is when Painless
gets advice on how to fight gunslinger Joe. It's reminiscent of the
wonderful Pestle with the Vessel bit from
Jester and perhaps even inspired it. Laughs pick up again in high
spirits at the Indian camp, where the best moments in Paleface
surface under poainof death.
Hope's dental banter is very funny. It's Hope is at the pinnacle of his
comic powers as Painless Potter. "Brave men run in my family" is a gem of a
Hope throwaway line. Hope can throw away lines with such casual eloquence. Russell and Hope have instant screen chemistry. Truthfully, she's not
much more of an actress than Dorothy Lamour. Russell fills the role of
Calamity Jane with a pouty mouth and ample flesh filling her tight
From the first moment of the opening titles Paleface
is a sparkling colorful treat. There are some specs of dirt, but intense
color saturation and overall sharpness overcome any carping complaints.
Black levels are very rich with revealing details like wrinkles in jackets.
Nice use of shadows in the undertaker's office. Color stability is remarkably good. Nice range on the fleshtones. Calamity
Jane's dress explodes with astounding color. Details like the pine needles on the trees are beautifully rendered. I noticed a couple of digital hits, but they were very minor and fleeting
and did nothing to undo the wonderful spirit of the transfer. The mono soundtrack is very clean. Very subtle dialogue distortion in the
last third of the film. Dialogue is easy to understand the the music
is upbeat with decent range.
The special features include a cute sing-along of Buttons and Bows. Just follow the bouncing ball.
The Entertaining the Troops segment is a duplicate of the one on
The Road to
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