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2.9 out of 5 stars
Cimarron (Special Edition)
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You know, I have to agree with Mr. Erdelac - the movie is progressive for its time. For those of you who judge a movie by the degree to which it beats a political or social drum, there is much here to admire.
But there is more. There is something artistic. There is an odd balance between melodrama and something really substantial, something actually edifying to the viewer. I think a large part of why this movie doesn't descend into the sludge of cinematic slop is because the characters are all flawed, and in those flaws the viewer cannot help but recognize a touch of human frailty. Every individual in this movie is at times ridiculous and at other times supremely dignified. This, I believe, gives it a certain depth.
The characters in any great movie MUST be larger than life if the piece is to avoid being either a documentary or a soap opera. But here the larger than life characters seem firmly rooted in the earth, which brings them closer to us. I like that.
Overall, I think the sensitive viewer will find in this movie much that is both emotionally and philosophically stimulating, if he/she is willing to look past the inevitable veneer of 74 years. I personally consider it a particularly moving and thought-provoking cinematic experience.
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on October 20, 2007
Cimarron traces the early history of Oklahoma,starting with the land
rush in 1899.from there it spans forty years in the development of that
land into an eventual American state and the advances of technology
that came with it.the story itself is an epic tale,so its focus is
pretty broad.this sort of makes it a bit impersonal at times.it starts
off slow,but somewhere along the lines it picks up and becomes somewhat
compelling.i also found it interesting how people behaved back in that
time,at least according to the movie.it does feel a bit like a silent
movie at times.some of the acting feels over exaggerated.that sort of
makes sense,since talking pictures had just recently replaced silent
films as the movie medium.so,many of the actors would have been used to
acing in silent pictures.nevertheless,i still enjoyed it,for the most
part.for me,Cimarron is a 3.5/5
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Cimmarron, academy award winner for best picture. It is best viewed with the mindset of early talkies. The characters and acting are stilted and plastic. The movie is a lot of fun, but, with today's jaded audience, may be seen as corny. I enjoyed it in its historical aspect and as an example of early epic cinema
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2003
What are some of these reviewers thinking? I just watched this movie for the first time, and considering the period, this has got to be one of the most progressive films ever to come out of the 1930's. Yes, like most, I inwardly cringed at the sight of `Isaiah' whistling and shining shoes during the opening credits, but I really felt that the character wound up being much more than a stereotypical clown (this is NOT Gone With The Wind). Consider the societal constraints under which the creators of this film worked, and I should think its obvious that they did what they could, perhaps subversively. Back then they just couldn't have a black character or a full blooded Indian character who spoke for and defended himself, but they could find a way to espouse more liberal views through the character of Cravat. In the end, by way of his actions, Isaiah certainly becomes a more heroic character than Mammy or Uncle Remus. Likewise, the treatment of womens' roles and Indian rights are amazingly far ahead of their time -even going so far as to touch on interracial marriage and the potential of women to be stronger and even more efficient than men -which at a time when the suffragists were still alive, has got to be commended. And don't forget that Dix's character is part Indian. How many films prior to `Broken Arrow' portrayed Indians in a positive light, let alone made them the hero?
There is a lot of talk of Dix's overracting and praise for Dunne. I thought Dix captured the blustery over the top persona of Yancey Cravat (who was based on a real-life gunslinging attorney who was a son of Sam Houston -the courtroom soliloquy to save the prostitute is culled directly from historic record) perfectly. I particularly liked the scene where he `crows' at the bad guy in challenge. Yes, Dunne did a fine job as well portraying a character who represents all the economic and social intolerance of the period. Moreso because with the help of her firebrand husband she manages to evolve and change (and even become a Congresswoman!) beyond these small views. But I don't think Dix deserves all the criticism, nor Dunne all the credit. Yancy Cravat doesn't seem true to life because he is BIGGER than life. Nobody complains about George C. Scott's rendering of Patton, because we know Patton really was that way. Is it incomprehensible to think that such giant characters, dandily dressed and sporting pistols and purple words ever walked the land before 1930? All this talk of dating (at the risk of sounding dated) is a lot of hooey. When you watch a movie like this you've got to put yourself in the mindset of the audience of the period, or of course you're always going to think its `aged badly.'
The film is shot well. The Land Rush is great, as is that scene where Dunne runs through the spattered men of the oil field at the end (it reminded me of Claudia Cardinale walking through the slew of rail workers at the end of Once Upon A Time In The West). There are shots during the emigration of the Cravats from Kansaas which also stay in the mind. The lantern hanging from the rear axle of the wagon, only illuminating the turning wheels on either side, while Cravat lowly sings his signature tune was a stroke of genius, and the Kid and his gang riding out of the dark and empty land into their campsite is well done. The sound on the VHS is a little bad, with a lot of background hiss occassionally overwhelming the dialogue. I hope if this ever gets to DVD they can fix this.
I think this is an important film that has been sorely overlooked because of the decline of the western in popular culture and the finger pointing of the PC crowd. You've got to look deeper than the veneer, but I really believe this to be an astounding achievement historically, cinematically, and in the portrayal and ultimate breaking of racial stereotypes. Best Picture of 1930. I would've given it four stars, but the VHS copy isn't great. O mighty masters of DVD transfer, except Cimarron into thy trust! Amen!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2000
You have to judge pictures like Cimarron not by today's standards but by the state of the art when it was made. From that perspective, Cimarron fares better. Every movie I've seen that was made in the twenties and thirties is more or less "dated". But this movie featured Irene Dunne on her way up and Richard Dix on his way down. It isn't politically correct. It isn't well paced. And it isn't the best movie to come out of the early thirties; but I know some people who consider it one of the best "cowboy" movies ever made. That's a stretch I think, but it was an interesting movie from an historical point of view. And as one viewer already pointed out, Irene Dunne's role and performance of it was very good for the time. Based on that, I'll give it three stars.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
One of the most dated of all the early 'talkies'. While it is big in scope, hammy acting, bad editing and bad writing are impossible not to notice. One of the film's major flaw is Richard Dix's performance, overly pompous and campy, if you look at it in another way, it's amusing in a campy way, but that certainly wasn't his intention, and that's what's funny. Irene Dunne gives a tolerable performance, but not even that can make the film interesting. Overlong and sometimes challenging to sit through, also some racial aspects might offend some. Only historically valuable. Extras: this was the first western to win 'Best Picture' Oscar, the next one would be 'Dances With Wolves' in 1990. From a scale of 1-10 I give this film a 4!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2000
This film is very dated and does not hold up well when measured by today's standards. Therefore, it may be hard to believe that not only was it the fourth film to win the best picture Academy Award, but that it also won the awards for screenplay adaptation and art direction.
Its principal value at this point would appear to be in an historical sense, for it depicts events, such as the Oklahoma land rush and the old west generally, that were not that far removed in time when this film was made. There were people living at the time of the filming, who had personal recollection of the events depicted. So don't dismiss the film out of hand, but, rather, view it in the context of its time.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2002
This movie was so boring and poorly paced, extremely dated and static. If it had come out any later than it did, then it probably would not have been an oscar winner. If you want to see a great western try The Searchers, Red River, or Once Upon a Time in the West. The remake of Cimarron (in cinemascope) from the 60's is much, much better. It moves along at a better pace and has a more admirable Cravat in Glenn Ford, great actresses, more effective storyline, along with a truly spectacular wagon race to claim land that totally leaves the first version in the dust. Indeed, the remake of Cimarron was one of the best westerns I have ever seen.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2004
I could not really enjoy the film. I purchased it recently on VHS and the audio quality was horrendous. I don't think anything was ever done to remaster the audio, and it is very annoying to follow. Don't waste $19.95 on it. Watch it on TCM; even there the audio is distorted. I only got it because it is a very early Irene Dunne movie, and I was curious to watch it.
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