Betty Hutton as Annie Oakley
Howard Keel as Frank Butler
Benay Venuta as Dolly Tate
Louis Calhern as Col. William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill)
J. Carrol Naish as Chief Sitting Bull
Edward Arnold as Pawnee Bill
Keenan Wynn as Charlie Davenport
Clinton Sundberg as Foster Wilson
Evelyn Beresford as Queen Victoria (uncredited)
John War Eagle as Indian Brave (uncredited)
Chief Yowlachie as Little Horse (uncredited)
- "Colonel Buffalo Bill" — Charlie, Dolly, Ensemble
- "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly" — Annie, Siblings
- "The Girl That I Marry" — Frank
- "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun" — Annie
- "There's No Business Like Show Business" — Frank, Buffalo Bill, Charlie Davenport, Annie with ensemble
- "They Say It's Wonderful" — Annie, Frank
- "Moonshine Lullaby" — Annie, Porters, Siblings
- "There's No Business Like Show Business (Reprise)" — Annie
- "My Defenses Are Down" — Frank, Ensemble
- "I'm an Indian, Too" — Annie
- "I Got Lost in His Arms" — Annie
- "I Got the Sun in the Morning" — Annie
- "Anything You Can Do" - Annie, Frank
The film adaptation cut the following numbers from the original score: "I'm a Bad, Bad Man", "Moonshine Lullaby", and "I Got Lost in His Arms", ("An Old Fashioned Wedding" was written for the 1966 revival). The 2000 compact disc release of the soundtrack includes all of the film's numbers and, "Let's Go West Again" (a Hutton number deleted before the film's release), an alternate take of Wynn's "Colonel Buffalo Bill", and Garland's renditions of Annie's pieces.
The film was originally budgeted at $1.5 million, with $600,000 paying for the score and the book.
Paramount's blonde bombshell, Betty Hutton, played Annie Oakley, with Howard Keel (making his American film debut) as Frank Butler and Benay Venuta as Dolly Tate. Frank Morgan, cast as Buffalo Bill Cody, died suddenly of a heart attack shortly after shooting the film's opening production number, "Colonel Buffalo Bill." Morgan was replaced in the film by Louis Calhern.
Judy Garland, MGM's biggest musical comedy star, was originally cast in the title role. She recorded all her songs for the soundtrack and worked for two months under the direction of Busby Berkeley and dance director Robert Alton. Berkeley and Garland had worked together previously in the late 1930s and early 1940s in a successful series of backstage musicals teaming her with fellow juvenile star Mickey Rooney. Berkeley had been fired from the Garland/Rooney musical Girl Crazy in 1943 due to personality clashes with musical director Roger Edens and for driving Garland to physical collapse during the filming of one musical number. On Annie Get Your Gun, producer Arthur Freed felt Berkeley was the right man to capture the spectacle needed. But once again, Berkeley was severe with Garland. Unfortunately, Garland was suffering from overwork and exhaustion, the dissolution of her marriage to director Vincente Minnelli, and an addiction to prescription medication. She was in no condition to undertake such a demanding role in a blockbuster production, and- based in part on her past experience working with him - she resented the hard driving Berkeley. Berkeley felt Garland's attitude on the "Annie" set lacked any enthusiasm. She felt Berkeley had no understanding of how to translate the material to the big screen, and was put off by his bombastic directorial style, often leaving the set when he began shouting at the actors and crew. She complained about Berkeley to studio head Louis B. Mayer, attempting to have him removed from the film. After viewing Berkeley's footage to that point, producer Freed was disappointed and fired the veteran director, replacing him with Charles Walters. Despite this change, the underweight and physically exhausted Garland frequently arrived late or not at all for each day's filming schedule. Finally, MGM suspended Garland's contract and removed her from the film. Garland claimed she was forced to leave the production against her will, and traveled to Boston where she was hospitalized for several weeks to regain her health.
Betty Garrett was considered as a replacement, but her contract with the studio had expired and her agent asked for too much money for her to return. Ginger Rogers lobbied hard for the role, but the producers felt she was too mature and too glamorous for the part. According to Rogers, studio head L.B. Mayer told her, "You stay in your silk stockings and high heels, Ginger. This part isn't for you." After pleading for the role with both MGM and her home studio of Paramount, a loan-out deal was brokered and the part of Annie eventually went to Betty Hutton. Shooting resumed after five months, with George Sidney replacing Charles Walters as director.
According to Betty Hutton, she was treated coldly by most of the cast and crew because she had replaced Garland. During an interview with Robert Osborne (first telecast on Turner Classic Movies "Private Screenings" on July 18, 2000), she recalled the other cast members being hostile and the MGM management as so unappreciative they neglected to invite her to the New York premiere. By all accounts, Hutton clashed with co-star Howard Keel. Years later, Keel recalled Hutton as "a scene stealer" and "insecure". In his autobiography Only Make Believe: My Life in Show Business, Keel wrote that on one occasion Hutton was upset because she felt Keel was upstaging her and they reshot the scene 35 times until she was satisfied with it. Hutton wrote in her memoir Backstage You Can Have that Keel was a "green horn" who tried to pull focus from her performance. Reportedly, she felt the only major cast member who treated her with any kindness and respect was Louis Calhern. Hutton also stated that one day Judy Garland was visiting the set and that Hutton greeted her with a bouncy "Hiya', Judy!", only to be answered by a string of profanities from Garland. Years later, the two women became friendly while each was performing in Las Vegas. According to Hutton, Garland admitted that she never felt she was right for the part of Annie and had been relieved when Hutton took over.
Only two production numbers were completed with Garland, "Doin' What Comes Naturally" and "I'm an Indian, Too", and these were officially made public for the first time in 1994 for That's Entertainment III. All of Garland's studio prerecordings for the film exist and were officially released by Rhino Records in 2000 for the film's first complete and remastered soundtrack CD, with Betty Hutton's renditions of the same numbers from the film.
Despite the production problems, the film became popular in its own right. During its initial release, MGM recorded it as earning $4,708,000 in the US and Canada and $3,048,000 overseas, resulting in a profit of $1,061,000.
In 1973 it was withdrawn from distribution, owing to a dispute between Irving Berlin and MGM over music rights, which prevented the public from viewing this film for almost 30 years. It was not until the film's 50th Anniversary in 2000 that it was finally seen again in its entirety.
One of Hutton's costumes, the very first "Wild West Show" costume seen in the film for the reprise of "There's No Business Like Show Business" is on permanent display at the Costume World Broadway Collection Museum in Pompano Beach, Florida.
Awards and honorsAcademy Award for Best Music Scoring of a Musical Picture (won)
Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color (Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse, Edwin B. Willis, Richard A. Pefferle) (nominee)
Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Color (nominee)
Academy Award for Best Film Editing (nominee)
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress - Musical or Comedy - Betty Hutton (nominee)
Photoplay Award for Most Popular Female Star - Betty Hutton (won)
Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical - Sidney Sheldon (won)