Action / Musical / Romance / Western


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Shirley Jones as Laurey
Gloria Grahame as Ado Annie
Rod Steiger as Jud Fry
James Whitmore as Mr. Carnes
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12hr 0 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by borg1005 ([email protected]) 10 / 10

Kudos, comments, and a Grail-like search

I've just hopped, skipped and jumped through seven pages of back-to-back kudos and other favorable comments on this great movie, and can do little but add mine to the chorus. Therefore, I'd like to focus on some minutiae.

The outstanding actress, among the many, is Gloria Grahame. In my humble opinion, she LIVED the part of Ada Annie. Watch her facial expressions during "I caint say no" and "All or Nuthin' ". The woman radiates sensuality with every line.

In the version shown recently on TV (04/03/06), it appears some lines were cut from "I caint". Unless I'm hallucinating, I remember her singing the following lyrics:

"Cain't seem to say it at all - I hate to disserpoint a beau When he is payin' a call! - Fer a while I ack refined and cool, - A settin on the velveteen setee - Nen I think of thet ol' golden rule, - And do fer him what he would do fer me!"

and at that point she starts idling her hips and flashes a grin of triumph that just REEKS sensuality. Anybody else remember this?

Another subplot(?) rarely mentioned is those two young girls who have a crush on Will and show up in every dance routine. I was enchanted by that little blonde pixie and have been going nuts trying to find out who she was. I suspect she is "Jennie Workman", the first credited dancer (she had one line in "Kansas City"). If so, sadly, she has only this one movie to her credit. If anyone has info on this little charmer, please email me.

I saw this movie soon after it's release in 1955, and was floored by the brilliance of the lyrics, actors in out-of-part roles doing a fantastic job, and the innovative dance routines, including the surreal barroom scene - it IS a dream after all. Fifty years later I still get the same WOW! reaction despite viewing this movie on an almost weekly basis this past month (that darned pixie has got me hooked!).

I wish some local theaters, facing declining audiences and the "home theater" threat, would feature a weekly "Classics Night" and show films like this again. Even a 52" HDTV pales in comparison to the Big Screen impact of some of these old movies, and this one would knock the socks off not only the current generation, but old geezers like myself who remembers when GOOD movies were the norm.

Reviewed by pjmartinau-1 6 / 10


I give the movie 6 out of 10 simply for the music. The music is classic and exceptional. Some of the songs however, are terrible. The song, "I can't say no" is so bad that it is good, and was sung by Polly in a Fawlty Towers episode.

The acting, the characters and the plot made my stomach turn. The people we are meant to like in the film are cocky, arrogant, over-the-top and superficial. The women in the movie are mean-spirited and shallow. The guys have plastic smiles that scream of insincerity.

The only character with any personality and depth is Jud - the one who is vilified as a loser, and we are meant to hate and despise him. Yet watching the movie makes you feel sympathy for him - especially the scene where one of the cocky cowboys pays him an unwanted visit and sings about how Jud's life is doomed, and finds a knife in his shed,and says to him encouragingly, "You could kill yourself with this." What are Jud's main crimes? He is poor and gruff-looking. He is not wealthy and lives in a small shed as a farm labourer. One of the girls has a bad dream with him in it (all he does in the dream is hold out his hand towards her). He causes headaches for everyone at an auction by offering a few cents more in money than the other bidders. This is after the girl has left him stranded many miles away from the auction and offers him no apology.

The movie reaches it grand climax when the enraged Jud reaches his breaking point tries to burn them down. The cowboy jumps on him forcing him to stab himself and he dies. Everyone is comical and happy that Jud is gone and we are meant to laugh when the cowboy is cleared of charges.

In a nutshell, the heroes repulsed me, the villain gained my sympathy, and the movie was way to long, and there is nothing to like about a single character in the film.

Kudos for Richard Rogers for the great music, nothing can be said for anything else in the film

Reviewed by bkoganbing 9 / 10

The sexiest film of the 1950's

Back in 1957 I saw this film when it was re-released and playing as a double feature with Carousel. Talk about musical entertainment, you can't do much better than that.

With a few numbers cut, this film version of the legendary Broadway musical is a faithful adaption of the show that premiered in 1943 and set a record of 2212 performances in a five year Broadway run at the St. James Theater. Oklahoma set a host of firsts on Broadway, the first musical to have an original cast album, the first also in the partnership of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, II.

Oklahoma on stage was also daring in that it had an extensive use of ballet, something unheard of for Broadway. Well, not quite because Richard Rodgers when he was writing with Lorenz Hart had Georges Balanchine do the famous Slaughter on Tenth Avenue ballet for On Your Toes.

But that was not as long as the dream ballet of Laurie that Agnes DeMille choreographed for Oklahoma. Agnes had previously choreographed Aaron Copland's composition Rodeo for a ballet and was a perfect choice for the musical with the western setting.

Would you believe that Oklahoma's origins came from a flop play by Lynn Riggs called Green Grow the Lilacs? The first person to play Curly was not Alfred Drake on stage or Gordon MacRae on film, but Franchot Tone. It's the closest the urbane Mr. Tone ever got to a western in his career. June Walker played the Laurie part in Green Grow the Lilacs that Joan Roberts did on stage and Shirley Jones did in this film. Green Grow the Lilacs ran a total of 64 performances back in 1931. But Dick Rodgers saw the musical possibilities in it.

MacRae was a proved commodity, but this was Shirley Jones's big screen debut. She followed it up with Carousel again co-starring with MacRae, just as the era of big screen musicals were ending. To some of us she's better known for singing those Rodgers&Hammerstein songs than for being the mother of the Partridge Family.

The secondary characters in the show are nicely cast with the secondary romantic triangle of Gene Nelson, Gloria Grahame, and Eddie Albert. One of the songs cut is a number called, It's a Scandal, It's an Outrage that Albert's character, peddler Ali Hakim sings. Albert did sing on stage and screen occasionally, I wish his number had stayed in. All he got out of the film as we well know is a three day bellyache.

The songs of Oklahoma are part of our national musical treasure from the opening of Oh, What a Beautiful Morning to the rousing title song almost at the very end. On stage, Oh, What a Beautiful Morning is sung off stage with a farm house setting and the Aunt Eller character, Charlotte Greenwood, sitting and churning butter. On stage MacRae is on horseback, riding through a cornfield where you can really see the corn is as high as an elephant's eye.

Rodgers&Hammerstein also gave one state in the union probably the best state song ever written at least in my humble opinion. The infectious and optimistic Oklahoma is in fact now the state song of the Sooner state. You can't sit quietly and listen and watch that number when its on, I defy anyone to.

Another big hit is People Will Say We're in Love that MacRae and Jones sing trying terribly hard to convince each other they're not crushing out. A favorite of mine has always been the ballad that Jones sings, Many A New Day to cheer herself up when MacRae hasn't asked her to the dance.

The plot of Oklahoma is slight, a couple of wholesome young people playing courting games about a dance. The problem is that the brooding hired hand of Jones and Greenwood's farm is used to make MacRae jealous. That would be Jud Fry, played with appropriate menace by Rod Steiger. The method acting Mr. Steiger stands out in this cast, but he's supposed to, because he's not really part of the community of farmers and cowmen. Among all these musical performers, Mr. Steiger proves to actually have a few nice notes in his voice as he joins MacRae singing Poor Jud is dead.

It took over ten years for Oklahoma to finally make it to the big screen. It took home Oscars for sound and musical scoring. It was well worth the wait.

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