George Stevens' semi-fictional biography of the famed sharpshooter stars Barbara Stanwyck in the title role. After arriving in Cincinnati from rural Ohio in the late 19th Century, she gets into a shooting contest with Toby Walker (Preston Foster), the ace sharpshooter of the New York vaudeville circuit. Both Toby and the crowd are awed by her marksmanship, but Annie decides to deliberately throw the match, afraid of alienating her opponent, to whom she finds herself strongly attracted. Jeff Hogarth (Melvyn Douglas), one of the partners in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, impressed with Annie's shooting and taken with her charms, offers her a job. When Toby becomes aware of Cody's dissatisfaction with Annie's showmanship, the sharpshooter begins to teach her some new tricks, and she soon becomes a star in her own right. Press agent Ned Buntline (Dick Elliot) decides to cook up a "feud" between the two sharpshooters to enhance the show's drawing power, but, like the film, it has little to do with the truth. An enjoyable, elaborately produced, and well-made biopic with a terrific Stanwyck, ANNIE OAKLEY is a winner. The unfortunate treatment of Chief Sitting Bull as a Native American counterpart of Stepin' Fetchit may be attributed to the attitudes of the period.
Theatrical Release |
Additional cast: Chief Thunderbird (Sitting Bull), Margaret Armstrong (Mrs. Oakley), and Delmar Watson (Wesley Oakley).
Additional credits: Ewart Adamson (story) and James Hartnett (assistant director).
The Turner videocassette is part of the "RKO Collection."