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The epic saga of a frontier family, Cimarron starts with the Oklahoma Land Rush on 22 April 1889. The Cravet family builds their newspaper Oklahoma Wigwam into a business empire and Yancey Cravet is the adventurer-idealist who, to his wife's anger, spurns the opportunity to become governor since this means helping to defraud the native Americans of their land and resources. Written by
During the land rush, several men lasso an Indian driving a wagon and the rope is shown tightening around his neck as they pull him off. In the next scene, they are shown dragging him on the ground, but the rope is now around his waist. See more »
I've always liked the 1960 remake of the RKO classic Cimarron and have never understood why it gets panned by so many people the way it does. Director Anthony Mann who got fired towards the end of the film's production did a very good job with both the cast and the spectacle. The Oklahoma land rush scene was as thrillingly done as it was in the 1931 version.
In fact truth be told, Glenn Ford did a better job as frontier renaissance man Yancey Cravat. Richard Dix though nominated for Best Actor in 1931 never did quite master the art of sound film and his star progressively sank lower and lower in Hollywood. Glenn is a strong heroic figure cursed with the fatal flaw of wanderlust.
Truth also be told is that many different accents made up the western pioneer population. Maria Schell's German accent is most assuredly not out of place here and she holds her own with Irene Dunne's portrayal of Sabra Cravat.
All the characters present in Edna Ferber's saga of the transforming of Oklahoma from territory to state made it from the first film. All of them meet during the Oklahoma land rush and while Glenn and Maria are the leads, the story of the film is what happens to all of them.
One character is expanded considerably from the 1931 film. Edna May Oliver was Mrs. Wyatt who was a pioneer woman whose husband we never did meet. Here Mrs. Wyatt is played by Mercedes McCambridge who is married to Arthur O'Connell who is very important to the story. They're this hardscrabble share cropper family who get a real scrubby piece of land at the beginning of the land rush, mainly because O'Connell falls off the stagecoach right at the beginning of the land rush and Mercedes runs across the starting line and she claims the land right at the line.
It turns out the land has oil and these people become the proverbial beggars on horseback. McCambridge remains unchanged by their sudden wealth, O'Connell is very much like that other nouveau rich oil millionaire that Edna Ferber created, Jett Rink. From people who the Cravats lent a hand to back in the day, O'Connell at least becomes an opponent.
One character that was eliminated thank the Deity was the black kid Isiaih who hero worshiped Richard Dix in the 1931 version. In 1960 that kind of racial stereotype would not have been tolerated.
The cast includes also such fine people as Anne Baxter, Edgar Buchanan, Russ Tamblyn, Vic Morrow, Aline McMahon, Robert Keith, Charles McGraw, all ably filling out parts from the original version. The land rush scene is every bit as good as the first time around.
I'm at a loss as to why this film was panned the way it was. It's a very good western and fans of the genre will appreciate it.
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