Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Annie Oakley (1935)


“Toby Walker, you're supposed to be a sharpshooter and you can't even see a woman gal under your own nose.”
“I can see anything I'm aiming at.”

            A while back I watched Annie Get Your Gun with Betty Hutton and Howard Keel. From liking this film I found out that Barbara Stanwyck played the character in the 1935 version of Annie Oakley. I found Stanwyck’s version and watched it.
            Toby Walker (Preston Foster) has just been signed by Jeff Hogarth (Melvyn Douglas) to be the new sharpshooter in Buffalo Bill’s Rough Riders show. While in Cincinnati a challenge is set up to see if anyone can win a shooting match against Toby. MacIvor the owner of a hotel gets on the line to his friend in a small town who knows the person who shoots the quails for his kitchen. The hotel owner thinks the challenger is a man named Andy Oakley and is shocked that Andy is actually Annie (Stanwyck). He wants to call off the challenge but Jeff and Toby stick to it and have the challenge go on as planned. Annie is winning but she sees everyone is making fun of Toby for getting beat by a girl so she lets him win. But Jeff sees that Annie would be a great addition to Buffalo Bill’s show and signs her as well.

            Bill is not too sure about Annie at first. All she seems to be able to do is shoot she does not have any theatrics. Toby helps her out with some stunts and by the time the show is over Annie is a hit. Toby does not really like the idea of Annie being billed before him so Bill and Jeff come up with an idea that they can do a Battle of the Sexes act. Annie can see Toby does not like this but he says he does not care just as long as he can be with her.
            The two sharpshooters fall in love but keep it private and play up their “rivals” aspect of the show. Everyone even Bill and Jeff think Annie and Toby really are rivals. At a show in Annie’s home town, one of the locals goes to kill the Indian Sitting Bull by shooting him. Toby was in the chief’s teepee and got rid of the person before they got to Bull. Unfortunately the man’s gun went off right in front of Toby’s face temporarily blinding him in one eye.
            At the show that day Annie has the announcer say that Toby is going to shoot a quarter out of her hand. Toby is upset he says he will not do it since he has not told anyone he cannot see straight. All the men in the stands and in the show start to pester him about being a pansy so he shoots. He misses the quarter and hits Annie’s shooting hand. The whole company thinks Toby hit her on purpose because she was more popular than he was. Annie knows he did not mean it they love each other and she trusts him. Toby is fired from the show.
            Annie is heartbroken throughout the show’s trip through Europe. She wants to leave the show after it plays in New York. She misses Toby. Of course they get back together though and it is really cute how they get back together.
            Barbara Stanwyck was so perfect as Annie. To me she is always the tough cookie and perfect that way. I just cracked up that she was supposed to be from the back woods of Ohio and she had a Brooklyn accent. Never saw Preston Foster in a film before this. He kept driving me nuts he reminded me Brut Reynolds and I hate Burt Reynolds. Melvyn Douglas was not front and center and was not really a good character but I liked him I like him in any film he does.
            Annie Oakley is a good film and it is not very long at an hour and a half. Definitely suggest seeing it.