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Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: cigar joe on October 13, 2008, 08:48:16 AM

Title: Cimarron (1960)
Post by: cigar joe on October 13, 2008, 08:48:16 AM
OK got around to watching Cimarron part of Warner's Great Westerns DVD set.  Whats kind of funny is that I just recently had seen the 1931 version (the last half) with Richard Dix.  Anyway this 1960 version is a Western that if you you blundered into it at any point while flipping channels you would guess it was made by John Ford it has that Fordian feel to it.

Directed by Anthony Mann and starring Glenn Ford as Yancey 'Cimarron' Cravat (editor, 'Oklahoma Wigwam')  Maria Schell as Sabra Cravat,  Anne Baxter as  Dixie Lee (owner, Dixie's Social Club),  Arthur O'Connell as Tom Wyatt , Russ Tamblyn as William Hardy aka The Cherokee Kid ,  Mercedes McCambridge as Mrs. Sarah Wyatt,  Vic Morrow  as Wes Jennings (Cherokee Kid gang),  Robert Keith as Sam Pegler (owner, 'Oklahoma Wigwam'),  Charles McGraw as  Bob Yountis , and  Harry Morgan as Jessie Rickey (printer). plus a cast of many recognizeable others and thousands of extras.

The film starts off with Yancy marrying Sabra, and taking her out to the Cimarron Strip where Yancy wants to follow his dream and claim a choice 160 acres for a ranch. The Cimarron Strip land rush is ready to start and on the way Yancy and Sabra meet a cross section of characters & various immigrants worthy of Ford. The huge set piece of the film is the land rush with thousands of settlers galloping off at breakneck speed.

This film is not really a Western in the classic sense, oh sure there are a few shootings, but its more a drama of the life Yancy and Sabra, on how they take over the Oklahoma Wigwam newspaper and the process in which the landscape changes.  Its in a way a film about the end of the West.

Its a mildly entertaining film but way way too much of it is shot on a sound stage and it looks it. The funny thing is it has cinematography by Robert Surtees who was extraordinary in  "The Law And Jake Wade", but I guess you can't do all that much with the material.  I'd never have bought this on a stand alone basis. 

Title: Re: Cimarron (1960)
Post by: dave jenkins on October 13, 2008, 12:03:44 PM
Thanks, Joe. Is the '31 version any good?
Title: Re: Cimarron (1960)
Post by: titoli on October 13, 2008, 12:05:43 PM
I saw the Glen Ford's version about 20 years ago and found it extremely slow-paced.
Title: Re: Cimarron (1960)
Post by: cigar joe on October 13, 2008, 01:00:40 PM
The 1931 version was interesting I've never seen Richard Dix before, he was a big guy in stature, reminded me of John Wayne and he had a thick mop of curly dark hair which was prominently displayed, must have been his trade mark.

to titoli:

It was a slow paced film, it really wasn't a Western though it had Western themes.
Title: Re: Cimarron (1960)
Post by: dave jenkins on October 13, 2008, 02:53:03 PM
Is there, then, nothing to choose between '31 and '60?
Title: Re: Cimarron (1960)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 16, 2012, 03:41:57 AM
Just saw this movie. I enjoyed it very much. The production design was amazing. Yes, there are a lot of big interior sets that were shot on soundstages as cj said, but there are so many amazing exteriors. That stampede for the land claims was awesome, the frontier town of Osage was a great set.

This really is a combination "end of the Western" and melodrama, and the latter doesn't work as well as the former. Glenn Ford plays a character with the frontier spirit who always tries to do the right thing, but can never seem to do right by his wife, partly cuz of his desire to do right by others (eg. he defends Indians thereby making enemies of some white men; he refuses the reward when he killed a wanted criminal cuz he doesn't want to make money off killing a man, even though is wife complains that they need the money; and he refuses an appointment to be governor cuz he would have to buddy up with an unethical oilman, etc.). At one point he decides to join a land rush occurring in another territory, and when his wife refuses to join him, he just leaves the family for 5 years.

I would have preferred if they has stuck with the "end of the Western" stuff, and kept all the family/melodrama out. They try to make that the point, how Ford embodied the spirit of the frontier and that kind of man can never stay in one place for too long and be a real settled-down family man.

Yes there are many beautiful interiors on soundstages, but there are so many great exteriors as well, as we see the frontier grow up (the film spans the period from 1889 till some point in World War I). A rough frontier town with horses and wooden structures and muddy streets eventually turns into a town with cars and paved roads and big brick buildings. It's worth it to endure the melodramatic parts to see the movie; cuz the production design alone makes it worth seeing  O0 O0

The movie was nominated for 2 Oscars (winning neither): Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color; and Best Sound.

I saw the movie on TCM. The picture looked beautiful.