Film 24: Cimarron

Cimarron (1931) dir. Wesley Ruggles. USA.

Wesley Ruggles apparently gets the full credit for this splendid and heavy production. His direction misses nothing in the elaborate scenes, as well as in the usual film making procedure.

Big production bits start with the land rush into Oklahoma in 1888, then the gospel meeting in a frontier gambling hall where Dix makes his biggest mark, an attempted bank robbery and the court room trial of Dixie Lee, the harlot. Each of these, and others, carries its own individuality. There is something different about them all.

— Variety Staff

Abigail:  I understand the significance of this movie, but really did not enjoy watching it.  At all.  It was slow, and dated, and bloated.  The politics are terribly outdated, and the acting even more so.  Though this is the template for the Westerns, it lacked the flare and excitement that define the genre for me.  It also lacked the plucky women, which was a shame.  The film spans decades, and generations to little effect.  Not a film I would suggest to anyone.

Forrest:  This movie was…fine.  It wasn’t good.  But it wasn’t a disaster, and it was interesting to see the first Western on our docket.  The story spans something like 40 years — which is intriguing in theory, but dreadfully dull in execution.  The trouble was that so much energy was spent on establishing the sweet of history that the characters fell by the wayside; and without compelling characters, there just wasn’t any reason to care.  Props for its expansive visuals, though — especially the opening shot of the great land rush.

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