Thursday, October 7, 2010

Review: Annie Get Your Gun, or Change Youself to Get a Man

I just finished watching the classic musical Annie Get Your Gun, starring Howard Keel as Frank Butler and Betty Hutton as Annie Oakley. While I loved the musical numbers and performances, one thing about the story reallllly bothered me- the fact that Annie has to essentially change herself and throw a shooting competition to win Frank Butler's love. I know that this movie was made in 1950 so certain stereotypes are to be expected (I'm not even going to mention the depiction of Indians) but I couldn't get past that. As depicted in this movie, Frank is arrogant, jealous and petty--why is Annie willing to change everything for him? Are men so insecure that they can't handle a woman who is more successful than them? (I'm not an expert on men, but I'm going to say probably not.) There's nothing wrong with wanting to be the best version of yourself, but totally changing doesn't exactly lead to an honest or deep relationship.

Why yes, Frank, I'll happily bleach my freckles for you.
On the positive side, Howard Keel and Betty Hutton are great and capture the couple's sparring relationship to perfection, though Hutton tends to overexaggerate every facial expression. So many of the songs have become classics, including this one below. "Anything You Can Do" perfectly  illustrates Annie's spunk and I love the chemistry and energy they have as they try to one-up each other.

(there seems to be only one video of this on YouTube, and they've disabled embedding... grrr. Click here to watch! )
Have you seen Annie Get Your Gun? What are your thoughts on Annie and Frank's relationship?


  1. The male/female relationship dynamics in this show are definitely dated...but I have a soft spot for the show since it was one of the musicals I stage managed during high school. I just fell in love with the music - and then I got to see the touring production starring Tom Wopat as Frank, and I ADORE his voice, so that was a lot of fun as well.

  2. I agree that the music is fantastic! Thanks for being my first follower :)