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Cimarron (1931)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Western  |  9 February 1931 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 3,183 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 33 critic

A newspaper editor settles in an Oklahoma boom town with his reluctant wife at the end of the nineteenth century.

Director:

(uncredited)

Writers:

(novel), (screen version), 2 more credits »
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Title: Cimarron (1931)

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Nance O'Neil ...
William Collier Jr. ...
Roscoe Ates ...
Jesse Rickey (as Rosco Ates)
...
Stanley Fields ...
Robert McWade ...
Louis Hefner
Edna May Oliver ...
Mrs. Tracy Wyatt
Judith Barrett ...
Donna Cravat (as Nancy Dover)
Eugene Jackson ...
Isaiah
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Billy Mellman
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Storyline

When the government opens up the Oklahoma territory for settlement, restless Yancey Cravat claims a plot of the free land for himself and moves his family there from Wichita. A newspaperman, lawyer, and just about everything else, Cravat soon becomes a leading citizen of the boom town of Osage. Once the town is established, however, he begins to feel confined once again, and heads for the Cherokee Strip, leaving his family behind. During this and other absences, his wife Sabra must learn to take care of herself and soon becomes prominent in her own right. Written by George S. Davis <mgeorges@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Terrific As All Creation See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

9 February 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cimarrón  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,433,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Has the lowest IMDb rating of all Best Picture Oscar winners as of February 2015. See more »

Goofs

During the period of the film set in 1907, Yancey is the Progressive Party's candidate for governor of Oklahoma. The Progressive Party did not form until 1912, and then disbanded after Theodore Roosevelt's unsuccessful third party candidacy that year. See more »

Quotes

[caption at the beginning of the film]
Caption: In 1889, President Harrison opened the vast Indian Oklahoma Lands for white settlement... 2,000,000 acres free for the taking, poor and rich pouring in, swarming across the border, waiting for the starting gun, at noon, April 22nd.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Epic Frontier Film
13 June 2003 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

A charismatic Kansas lawyer takes his bride to the Oklahoma Territory's CIMARRON Country to start a newspaper in the violent, rawboned town of Osage.

Edna Ferber's sprawling novel of frontier life comes to the big screen in a film deemed fine enough to win a few Oscars, including Best Picture. It was one of the first great epics of the Sound Era and is still very entertaining to watch. Occasionally there is a bit of overacting, perhaps, and technical difficulties with the microphones can be discerned while trying to hear the stars' voices clearly during some crowd scenes, but this in no way detracts from the enjoyment of viewing the film.

The performance of Richard Dix as pioneer & dreamer Yancey Cravat has been criticized as being too florid and overripe, but this is unfair. The popular actor had his roots in silent films when acting techniques were somewhat different, but this robust style perfectly suits the energetic wanderlust of his character. Anything less than abundant enthusiasm would look silly in a fellow called upon to deliver a sermon and shoot an outlaw almost simultaneously, vigorously champion the rights of fallen women and racial minorities and yet still blithely abandon his family for long years as he follows his own star of destiny. Call it what you may, Dix's performance can certainly never be tagged as being dull.

Irene Dunne, as Yancey's wife Sabra - his ‘Sugar' - provides the calm emotional center for the film. She is the one who holds the family and newspaper together while her husband is off bringing civilization to other frontiers. She is even able to achieve substantial business and political importance. What saves Dunne's performance from becoming too sweet is the story giving her a few personality wrinkles to deal with, most notably her determination to destroy the town's bawdy house madam (well played by Estelle Taylor) and her intense bigotry towards the local Indians. Her growth as a human being is juxtaposed with that of Oklahoma's expansion as a state.

Some fine character actors provide prime entertainment value: stuttering Roscoe Ates as the Cravats' faithful printer; George E. Stone as a gentle Jewish peddler who becomes a firm family friend; Stanley Fields as a town tough who tangles with the wrong hombre; William Collier Jr in a brief, vibrant outlaw role as The Kid; and Eugene Jackson as the young Black servant who gives the ultimate sacrifice of loyalty to the Cravats. Marvelous gossipy Edna May Oliver, replete with snooty sniffs & piercing glances, neatly tucks all her scenes as a society matron into her handbag and stalks off with them.

With production costs of 1.5 million dollars, RKO could give CIMARRON excellent production values, featuring crowds of extras and very realistic sets. A few of the scenes are classics and remain in the mind for a long time: the 1889 Land Rush sequence which opens the film; the church service in the saloon; the gun battle in the dusty street. It is very interesting to watch how the town of Osage changes during the movie, from a dangerous dirty settlement to an Oklahoma metropolis in 1930, all achieved most convincingly for the screen.

*************************

The Cimarron is a wild & unruly river that arises in New Mexico and runs for about 600 miles before becoming a tributary of the Arkansas River near Tulsa, Oklahoma. The word is Old Spanish and refers to the thickets along the River and the bighorn sheep which inhabited them


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