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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the decades since it was released, "Cimarron" 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 »
Mr. Levy says "Moses wrote the Ten Commandments". In fact according to the bible Moses brought down the Ten Commandments that had been written in stone by God. See more »
Dixie Lees have been stoned in the market place for 2,000 years. You've got to drive the devil out first.
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Adventuresome and scholarly Richard Dix (as Yancey Cravat) joins the 1889 Oklahoma land rush, and helps settle the territory, with loyal homesteading wife Irene Dunne (as Sabra). His oratory skills as a lawyer and work as a newspaper editor help Mr. Dix defend the downtrodden through the ensuing decades. Notably, Mr. Dix is supportive of Native American (Indian) rights. Dix also helps independent woman and presumed prostitute Estelle Taylor (as Dixie Lee). After some decades pass, we meet the title character, wild and unruly son Don Dillaway (as Cimarron "Cim" Cravat).
"Cimarron" is mostly recalled as the first western to win an "Academy Award" for best film. Some may think it should be recalled as the first time an award was given to prop up the box office of a flop. But, the red ink was due to RKO spending so much on the film; while not recouping its cost, "Cimarron" was one of the biggest box office hits of 1931. It was also a triple crown "Best Picture" award winner, with prizes from "Photoplay" and "Film Daily" included. Those awards were also the ones bestowed upon "The Covered Wagon" (1923), which was the world's previous western standard.
None of this means "Cimarron" is anything more than a swaggeringly average western, with a lot of production cost. Some of it is so dull, the "ethnic" characters emerge as most perversely entertaining. It's difficult to justify the acting nominations for Dix and Ms. Dunne. Director Wesley Ruggles manages the crowds well and adds a few artful moments, like the clever crucifying positioning of Jewish character George E. Stone (as Sol Levy), after some bullying. Edna May Oliver (as Tracy Wyatt) also makes the most of her role, employing many mannerisms seen later in Carol Burnett.
***** Cimarron (1/26/31) Wesley Ruggles ~ Richard Dix, Irene Dunne, Estelle Taylor, George E. Stone
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