Oklahoma!

Oklahoma!

4.7 17
Director: Fred Zinnemann

Cast: Fred Zinnemann, Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Gene Nelson

     
 

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Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1943 Broadway musical was considered revolutionary for a multitude of reasons, not least of which were the play's intricate integration of song and storyline, and the simplicity and austerity of its production design. The 1955 film version of Oklahoma! retains the songs (except for "Lonely Room" and "It's a Scandal!," which are usually…  See more details below

Overview

Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1943 Broadway musical was considered revolutionary for a multitude of reasons, not least of which were the play's intricate integration of song and storyline, and the simplicity and austerity of its production design. The 1955 film version of Oklahoma! retains the songs (except for "Lonely Room" and "It's a Scandal!," which are usually cut from most stage presentations anyway) and the story, but the simplicity is sacrificed to the spectacle of Technicolor, Todd-AO, and Stereophonic Sound. The story can be boiled down to a single sentence: a girl must decide between the two suitors who want to take her to a social. In her movie debut, 19-year-old Shirley Jones plays Laurie, an Oklahoma farm gal who is courted by boisterous cowboy Curley (Gordon MacRae) and by menacing, obsessive farm hand Jud Frye (Rod Steiger). Fearing that Jud will do something terrible to Curley, Laurie accepts Jud's invitation to the box social. But it's Curley who rescues Laurie from Jud's unwanted advances, and in so doing wins her hand. On the eve of their wedding, Laurie and Curley are menaced by the drunken Jud. During a fight with Curley, Jud falls on his own knife and is killed (this sudden-death motif was curiously commonplace in the Rodgers and Hammerstein ouevre). The local deputy insists that Curley be arrested and stand trial, but he is outvoted by Curley's friends, and the newlyweds are permitted to ride off on their honeymoon. Counterpointing the serious elements of the story is a comic subplot involving innocently promiscuous Ado Annie (Gloria Grahame), her erstwhile sweetheart Will Parker (Gene Nelson) and lascivious travelling salesman Ali Hakim (Eddie Albert). None of the Broadway cast of Oklahoma! was engaged for the film version, though Charlotte Greenwood is finally able to essay the role of Auntie Eller that had been written for her but she'd been unable to play back in 1943. The evergreen songs include "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," "Surrey with the Fringe on Top," "People Will Say We're In Love," "I Cain't Say No," and the rousing title song. Two versions of Oklahoma! currently exist: the Todd-AO version, filmed on 65-millimeter stock, and the simultaneously shot CinemaScope version, shipped out to the theaters not equipped for the wider-screen Todd-AO process. Both versions have been issued in "letterbox" form on laser disc, and the subtle differences in performance style and camera angles in each and every scene are quite fascinating.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
One of the most eagerly anticipated films of its time, this flamboyant adaptation of the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein stage musical -- filmed in the then-new Todd AO process -- wowed moviegoers when it hit theater screens in 1955, more than a decade after the original show took Broadway by storm. Handsome, husky Gordon MacRae made a perfect Curly, and young, fresh-faced Shirley Jones entranced audiences as Laurie. Veteran stage and screen star Charlotte Greenwood was a thorough delight in the role of Aunt Eller, with Gene Nelson contributing vigorous hoofing as Will Parker and Gloria Grahame nearly stealing the show as Ado Annie. Rod Steiger, very much out of place in a musical, was suitably unlikable as Jud Fry, the nominal villain. The film’s story hewed fairly closely to that of the stage incarnation; simply put, it involves the efforts of two cowboys to win the hearts of two young ladies they meet in the Oklahoma territory at the turn of the 20th century. The rest was movie-musical magic, from the lush orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett to the dynamic choreography of Agnes De Mille (who’d performed the same chore for the stage show). And then there were those unforgettable songs -- “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” “Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” “People Will Say We’re in Love,” “Many a New Day,” “I Cain’t Say No,” and, of course, the title tune. Somewhat out of his element, High Noon director Fred Zinnemann still manages to present and stage the material inventively. To some of today’s home viewers, Oklahoma! will seem at best quaint and at worst extremely silly. It represents a magnificent accomplishment in a genre that is, sadly, out of favor. But fans of the form still revere this marvelous musical, which after 50 years remains a treat for both eye and ear.
All Movie Guide
There may have been better musicals, but few left as lasting a cultural impact as Oklahoma!, whose optimistic, broadly American songs by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein became instant and permanent classics. The enduring and endearing music in this Western included the enchanting "Oh What a Beautiful Morning!" and the clever "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" as well as the title song. It was based on the smash Broadway play that had its run in the 1940s. Shirley Jones made her film debut as the country girl who falls in love with a cowboy (Gordon MacRae) but is pursued by a sinister farmhand (Rod Steiger, in one of his earliest roles). At 145 minutes, the film is a little too pleased with itself, but the fresh, sunny impact of the movie triumphed. Its corny sentiments perfectly fit the mood of expansive, contented mid-1950s America. The film actually was shot in Arizona!

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/07/2014
UPC:
0024543950004
Original Release:
1955
Rating:
G
Source:
20th Century Fox
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound]
Sales rank:
7,800

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gordon MacRae Curly
Shirley Jones Laurey
Gene Nelson Will Parker
Charlotte Greenwood Aunt Eller
Gloria Grahame Ado Annie Carnes
Rod Steiger Jud Fry
Eddie Albert Ali Hakim
James Whitmore Carnes
Barbara Lawrence Gertie
Jay C. Flippen Skidmore
Roy Barcroft Marshal
James Mitchell Dream Curly/Dancer
Bambi Linn Dream Laurey/Dancer
Jennie Workman Dancer
Kelly Brown Dancer
Lizanne Truex Dancer
Evelyn Taylor Dancer
Jane Fischer Dancer
Marc Platt Dancer
Virginia Bosier Actor
Ben Johnson Cowboy at Train Depot
Rory Mallinson Young cowboy at box lunch auction

Technical Credits
Fred Zinnemann Director
Robert Russell Bennett Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Russell Bennett Musical Direction/Supervision
Jay Blackton Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
George Boemler Editor
Floyd D.Crosby Cinematographer
Agnes de Mille Choreography
Adolph Deutsch Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Arthur Hornblow Producer
Fred Hynes Sound/Sound Designer
Sonya Levien Screenwriter
William Ludwig Screenwriter
Motley Costumes/Costume Designer
Orry-Kelly Costumes/Costume Designer
Richard Rodgers Score Composer
Rodgers & Hammerstein Score Composer
Gene Ruggiero Editor
Oliver Smith Production Designer
Robert Surtees Cinematographer
Joseph C. Wright Art Director

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Oklahoma! 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My mother had seen the original on broadway as a very young girl and had taken the whole family to see a play acted out by some highschoolers at the local college. This turned out to be a flop, since some acts and most of the songs, including the famous "Oklahoma!", had been taken out. My oldest sister just recently took out this movie. It proved better than the play we had seen, and the songs were very catchy. I never understood why my mother loved the "Oklahoma!" song until I watched it. Despite the plot, which overall would be rather of a pleasant bore had it not been for some arousing scenes (such as when the wagon Laurie and Jud is in starts headlong into a coming collision with a train), as the story is nothing extraodinary, the "Oklahoma!" song sticks with me even now. The text and lyrics seem to catch a certain old mid-western aroma of the late 1800's/ early 1900's that is patriotic in its own way. A nice movie, you will hum "Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin', Oh What A Beautiful Day, I Gotta Wonderful Feelin', Everythings Goin' My Way" for many days to come.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was filmed in the brief Hollywood era when some films were being filmed in two formats simultaneously...This package includes both the Cinemascope version and the "for many years" seldom seen TODD-AO version, which utilizes differnent takes and camera setups much of the time...It is fun to compare the two. For me, in many ways the TODDAO version seems fresher...and the camera work is better...Certainly, the sound of the TODD AO version is much more spectacular. In either version you have a classic R and H score, well performed and sung. If you haven't seen this one in many years, it is certainly worth a look at these restored versions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
seattle1985 More than 1 year ago
This is definitely my favorite of all of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. At first glance it seems to be just a frivolous musical, but it is worth a second look. The music is complex and fun, and the lyrics are wonderful and quite profound. In fact, my tattoo actually says "All the sounds of the earth are like music..." which is a line from the opening song "Oh What a Beautiful Morning." everytime I watch this movie it makes me feel happy, and that's really the most important thing about a movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This movie is nostalgic. It brings back many memories. Watch if you enjoy musicals.
hpdjwg More than 1 year ago
Oklahoma is great. The film has the extra bonus of the "Goon Girls". These are the young girls with a crush on the character Will. They are Jane Fischer and the little blond pixie Lizanne Truex. They were hired to do the train station scene, but so impressed the director that they were written into the musical. Lizanne is amazing, kicking the hat of Will at the station, clicking her heels in the dream sequence and bouncing into the side of Gene Nelson (Will) at the barndance. Enjoy this timeless jewel.
drbcabarete More than 1 year ago
Having grown up with the original play and then some of the revivals and then the movie, it was wonderful to relive it again. Had been looking to add this to my library and to share it with those who have never seen it. As a beginning to American theater and later movie musicals this genesis of an experience is truly magnificent. Looking from 1943 and seeing the development of the musical is a true history of the theater and of the music video field. This is from where West Side Story came and Michael Jackson's Thriller album and the others in the music video genre. Agnes Demille was a genius as were Rogers and Hammerstein.
AnakinFanatic More than 1 year ago
In this classic digitally remastered movie, fans can relive the hit musical over and over again. The DVD version is packed full with extras and has better quality that the good old VHS.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the musical so much. I can't stop singing O'What a Beautiful Morning.