Clay Douglas an American, comes to Britain, to find out the truth behind his brothers death during a commando operation in occupied France. After tracking down the surviving members of the ... See full summary »
It's Tulsa, Oklahoma at the start of the oil boom and Cherokee Lansing's rancher father is killed in a fight with the Tanner Oil Company. Cherokee plans revenge by bringing in her own wells with the help of oil expert Brad Brady and childhood friend Jim Redbird. When the oil and the money start gushing in, both Brad and Jim want to protect the land but Cherokee has different ideas. What started out as revenge for her father's death has turned into an obsession for wealth and power.Written by
During the rescue scene with Susan Hayward on the bulldozer under a blanket being drenched with water, when she comes out from underneath the blanket her hair is perfectly dry. See more »
It's oil that drives the ships, powers the trains and the planes and fills the traffic lanes. Yes sir, oil's a right valuable commodity, sought for and fought for all over the globe, in Arabia and Persia, Venezuela, Algiers and Mexico. But talk to an oilman anywhere and he'll tell you the oil capital of the world is Tulsa.
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No need to repeat the plot. Darn few actresses can dominate a "man's picture" like Tulsa the way Susan Hayward does. What an exceptional combination of beauty and boldness she was. The production values of this non-studio project are unusually well targeted. Without them, the movie would be little more than a good programmer instead of the sleeper it is. Credit those values (special effects, location shooting, etc.) to producer Walter Wanger, who proved he had an eye for quality material, both big budget and small, e.g. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). Credit too, under-rated director Stuart Heisler with a sense of pacing and an ability to redeem difficult material with intelligent touches, e.g. Beachhead (1954), Storm Warning (1951), etc.
I especially like the nightmare montage of Redbird's (Armendariz) after he's set fire to the wells. Up to that point, the derricks have been portrayed as stately umbilical cords of wealth and progress, the life's blood of the city and state. So it's a surprise to see them suddenly depicted as hulking black monsters threatening everything around them. Contrast that dark depiction with the uncritically sunny, yet thematically similar, mega-hit Giant (1956). It doesn't take much extrapolation to update Redbird's vision to the oil-based crisis of today; at the same time, the values that evolve among the movie's characters show a surprising sensitivity to the need for a sustainable environment.
I also like the way Indian Charlie Lightfoot (Yowlatchie) is shown as excelling at white man ways by becoming a shrewd businessman. Too often Hollywood portrayed Indians at extremes, either as bloodthirsty savages or as noble primitives, but rarely as 3-dimensional human beings. The screenplay may pander at times, especially with Pinky (Wills), but it's also unusually well-rounded for its period. I guess my only reservation is with the splendid special effects. Those burning oil fields are just so incredibly hot, it's impossible to see Brady (Preston) enter the inferno with little more than a squirt of water. Nonetheless, in my little book, the movie is a definite sleeper. True, as the lovelorn outsider, Pedro Armendariz is no quirky James Dean. Yet, despite its relative obscurity, Tulsa is as well-acted and carries as much depth as its sprawling, better-known counterpart, Giant.
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