Paleface, The (1948): McLeod’s Oscar-Winning Comedy Western Starring Bob Hope and Jane Russell


In this popular Paramount Western, directed by Norman Z. McLeod, comedian-actor Bob Hope plays a tenderfoot dentist. The sexy Jane Russell, then at the height of her fame, plays Calamity Jane, who marries him to conceal her real identity. Needless to say, she avoids consummating their marriage—to Hope’s greatest disappointment.

The plot is slender and silly, but at the time (before the age of TV), audiences flocked to see this picture, as well as the popular sequel, “Son of Paleface,” which followed soon after.

Not much of an actor, Bob Hope can only be Bob Hope, and so some critics consider this picture to be a highlight of his screen career.

The team of musicians, Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, wrote several Oscar-nominated songs, including “Suttons and Bows” for this picture (see below).

They are also responsible for the hit tunes “To Each His Own” and especially for the title song of the popular TV series “Bonanza.”

Oscar Nominations:  1

Best Song: “Buttons and Bows,” music and lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans

Oscar Awards: 1

Best Song