Production Company: RKO Radio
Top Billed Actors: Richard Dix, Irene Dunne, Estelle Taylor
IMDb Rating: 6.1
*Best Picture Nominee*
Won 3 Oscars:
Best Writing (Adapted) - Howard Estabrook
Best Art Direction - Max Rée
Nominated for 4 more:
Best Director - Wesley Ruggles
Best Actor - Richard Dix
Best Actress - Irene Dunne
Best Cinematography - Edward Cronjager
Plot: The viewer checks up on the progress of a Frontier town in Oklahoma every now and then.
Although Cimarron is the lowest rated Best Picture winner on IMDb, there is still a lot of great developments in the film. The opening land rush scene is very elaborate and very impressive. The sheer amount of extras and planning involved looks colossal. The structure of the story grips the attention of the viewer quite easily. The story takes the liberty of jumping ahead years at a time to check in with the family of Richard Dix's character. While it does this, we see the town of Osage in Oklahoma grow from a start-up frontier town in the 1880s to a full blown city in the 1920s. We see the children grow up, the styles of clothing change, the buildings evolve, and the characters' viewpoints and tendencies adapt. Interestingly, the creation of this Frontier town became the basis for RKO Radio's famous movie ranch in Encino, California.
Although the way the story is told and the plot moves along at a nice pace, the acting in this movie is abysmal at times. Richard Dix's character is very likeable as he tries to mop up the town of its crime while still being able to wield a gun and go out on adventures. However, Dix himself has a very outdated style of speech. He is very large with his gestures and his talking sequences seem unnatural. The editing is shoddy throughout the film as well. In between shots within a given scene, there is often a large pause, at the end of one shot and the beginning of the next. When this and the poor acting is coupled, a lot of cringe moments occur.
Overall, if you can get past the shortcomings of the ensemble and the second-rate editing, the story itself is worth a watch. Seeing a town and its inhabitants grow up in the span of two hours is truly a remarkable spectacle.
My Score: 6/10