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 <email@example.com>
In the decades since it was released, Cimarron (1931) has been unjustly accused of racial stereotyping. In fact, Edna Ferber's tale is progressive in its frontier spirit, presenting the social problems of the late 1800s (i.e. black slavery, Indian annihilation, the Oklahoma territory being opened up to 'whites'), carrying through to the breaking down of such issues through Cravat's legal and journalistic crusades. The film also champions feminism through Sabra's lifelong ability to maintain Cravat's business for years at a time while he gives way to his wanderlust (she eventually is elected a Member of Congress). The film climaxes with the Cravats' son defiantly marrying a Native American, which causes a divide between his parents, one of whom is liberal, the other conservative. See more »
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 »
[caption at the beginning of the film]
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.
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Seeing Cimarron is comparable to looking at old pictures, with the difference that they move and speak. It makes you go back in time to 1931, and also it shows you how people at that time would look at the end of the 19th century. Even though it is a `talkie' you have the feeling you are seeing a silent film. After all they were closer in years to the days of the wild west, than we are from the year the film was made. Richard Dix gives a `silent movie' performance as Yancey, the guy who had `ants in his pants' and could not stay anywhere for a long time, but would show up at crucial moments. Edna May Oliver as Mrs. Wyatt gives an incredibly actual performance, but just the opposite happens with William Collier Jr. as `The Kid', who seems to have only one expression on his face. Cimarron, nowadays, is not a film for anyone, only for those who have curiosity about old movies and what they show us about the past.
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