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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
Opening credits prologue: At high noon April 22, 1889 a section of the last unsettled territories in America was to be given free to the first people who claimed it. They came from the north and they came from the south and they came from across the sea. In just one day an entire territory would be settled. A new state would be born. They called it Oklahoma. See more »
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 did not see this when it was new. I remember thinking that it wasn't worth the effort then. It is less worth it now.
Its device is its scope, both in time and size. There are not one but two land grabs. it spans 25 years and much attention is spent on the theatrics of the sets. It must have been a strange year for this to have done well. At least we can value it to the extent that its success for Columbia made the scope of Lawrence of Arabia possible for MGM.
The story here is only there to support a celebration of settlers of Indian territories and to pull out a specific type which we are to admire as an ideal, an ideal American.
He is a champion of justice and a man of action. His adherence to certain principles punishes him. He is a proponent of civil rights here coded as Indian rights. What's not to like?
Well. He loves the adventure of the land. We get great vistas that anchor him in the place, a convention of Westerns since Ford. But he is not a man of the land, he is a city boy who likes adventure. That's this film's basic undoing of ideals.
It's reflected in the parallel western convention of woman as place. This guy loves deeply but he just can't settle with a woman. We see two.
When they meet, they talk of wives as mothers, companions and lovers. We are to admire that he does not need the first, is companion to nearly everyone and is deep in his love.
The narrative power of this idea by itself would be weak in any package. It is even worse here because of the inept direction. We see this more sharply now because of the obsolete acting and staging styles.
Ann Baxter is a pretty prostitute whose story of self is close to our hero. Though she has less screen time than the immigrant wife, we are to see her as genuine. It's really about her as the land, as the place, and why it isn't the blond wife.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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