HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Invasion Planet Earth
Ferdinand
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Oklahoma! Laurey, Curly and... JudBuy this film here.
Year: 1955
Director: Fred Zinneman
Stars: Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Gloria Grahame, Gene Nelson, Charlotte Greenwood, Eddie Albert, James Whitmore, Rod Steiger, Barbara Lawrence, Jay C. Flippen, Roy Barcroft, James Mitchell, Bambi Linn, Jennie Workman, Virginia Bosler, Kelly Brown
Genre: Western, Musical
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: O what a beautiful morning, and Curly McLain (Gordon MacRae) is riding through it in the state of Oklahoma, where the corn is as high as an elephant's eye. He's full of the joys of being alive, and his perpetual cheeriness leads him to the house of Laurey Williams (Shirley Jones), who he is very keen on, yet such is his brashness that she feels he is too presumptuous when he asks to take her to the big dance tomorrow evening. Although he sweet talks her with promises of escorting her in a surrey with a fringe on top, her initial enchantment gives way to cynicism that he cannot fulfil that promise, and on the spur of the moment she tells him that their farmhand Jud (Rod Steiger) will take her...

Big mistake there, as we shall see, but what was not a mistake was to spend so much money on bringing one of the most popular musicals of the mid-twentieth century to the silver screen, for just as the stage version had been, the motion picture was a huge hit, especially in terms of its soundtrack album sales which went through the roof. In the nineteen-fifties, seemingly no home would be without vinyl of that cast recording, and indeed it remains a substantial seller to this day, despite one of the most prominent performers there being unable to sing. Or, for that matter, dance. Gloria Grahame was that actress, although she was much-beloved for the role.

She played Ado Annie, who was essentially the comic relief whose secondary plot, a love triangle (that isn't) between her, cowboy Will Parker (Gene Nelson) and travelling salesman Ali Hakim (Eddie Albert), served as the light relief for the grimmer aspects of the overall narrative. Grahame's casting has been excused over the years for a few reasons, but it appears the motive was that she lobbied hard for the part and just pipped her rivals, though whether that was because the studio bosses found her more attractive and decided it didn't matter if she could not sing or dance was unclear. The fact remained, she was one of the quirkiest stars of the decade, and she had many fans.

Back at the main plot, and MacRae and Jones were left to carry what was, though fairly simple and linear, a work of more depth than many would acknowledge, though that was largely thanks to a more primal nature in the way the characters interacted, a contrasting tale of masculinity and femininity. If Jones is the positive female force, then Grahame was its parody; however, MacRae was the strapping epitome of the manly man, belting out the showtunes courtesy of Rodgers and Hammerstein as if to the manor born, which left Steiger to take the blame for all that was rotten in the male personality. We see early on Jud trying to peep at Laurey as she undresses, which is enough to damn him for all time, the frustrated and impotent man who cannot get his own woman and has to resort to subterfuge to try and win Laurey.

But was Jud unfairly maligned? From some angles, it seems so, for whereas Curly and Laurey are a golden couple obviously destined to be together, Jud is a misfit, and they don't let him forget it. Curly even has a song he shares with the farmhand where he sings about Jud only getting respect by committing suicide (!), so it's little wonder the poor bastard is messed up: maybe if people had shown him more kindness he would not have been reduced to sitting in his grimy smokehouse and looking at pornography. This survival of the fittest, or survival of the most attractive anyway, should really turn you off to Oklahoma!, yet there was something about director Fred Zinneman's attempts at translating the stylisation of the original show to a more natural (literally) setting that placed what fast became a classic set of songs in a powerful context. Yes, it can seem stagey now, and it did back then as well, but the impression of a small tale blown up to magnificent size suited the blockbuster medium, and this was the decade of huge roadshow productions that everyone was implored to see, and often did. If it was more of a cattle stampede than a pleasant walk in the sun, then so be it.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 519 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: