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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 »
Cimarron is mostly directed by Anthony Mann and written by Arnold Schulman. It's based on the Edna Ferber novel of the same name and was previously made into a film in 1931. It stars Glenn Ford, Maria Schell, Anne Baxter, Harry Morgan, Russ Tamblyn, Mercedes McCambridge and Lili Darvas. Franz Waxman scores the music and Robert Surtees is the cinematographer. It's a CinemaScope production, filmed in Metrocolor and exterior locations were shot in Arizona.
--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, 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--
With changes from both the novel and the 1931 film, Cimarron 1960 was a big budgeted production. With a huge cast and a running time to match, it was expected to be an epic winner for MGM. It wasn't. For although it has undoubted qualities to please the keen Western fan, it has just too much flab on its belly to let it run free. On the plus side is Surtess location photography and Anthony Mann's ability to stir the blood by way of his action know how. The highlight of the film, and certainly a Western fan's must see sequence, is that of the actual "land-rush" that forms the narrative starting point of the film. A stunning collection of crashes, bangs, death and heartbreak are put together by Mann and the heroes that form the stunt team. Sadly the bar is raised so high so early in the film, it's all down hill from there for expectation and actuality. With the last third of the film laborious in the extreme as an ill equipped Maria Schell attempts to carry the dialogue driven heavy load.
The story is a good one, and Schulman's adaptation doesn't want for trying to reach epic horse opera status. But it's just not a fully formed whole, it comes out as a small group of fine scenes slotted into a gargantuan story of no real distinction. How else can you react to having sat thru two hours of film, to get to the big historical oil strike, to find the film petering out into a series of uninteresting conversations? Much of the problem can maybe be put down to problems off screen? Mann was fired towards the end of production, to be replaced by Charles Walters (High Society), while producer Edmund Grainger himself added scenes in an attempt to clarify the relationship between Yancey (Ford) and Sabra Cravat (Schell). The latter of which was without Mann knowing. This probably accounts for why the final third is so dull. The cast are mostly safe, with Charles McGraw and Aline MacMahon standing out in support slots, the latter of which excels during a graveside scene. But Tamblyn is hopelessly miscast and McCambridge and Baxter are, for different reasons, underused. Waxman scores it as more reflective than sweeping, tho the accompaniment for the "land-rush" sequence is boisterous and uplifting, while hats off to the nice costuming by Walter Plunkett; where Baxter, and us the viewers, benefit greatly.
The great scenes make it a film for Western fans to seek out. But in the context of two of the genre's heroes in Ford and Mann, it's one to easily forget about. 5.5/10
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