Oklahoma!

Oklahoma!

4.7 17
Director: Fred Zinnemann

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

     
 

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This double-DVD set, issued to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of the film Oklahoma!, is as thorough a treatment as the film has ever received. The presence of both the CinemaScope and Todd-AO versions of the movie -- and the latter was last seen on a special laserdisc edition released more than a decade before -- has allowed the producers to includeSee more details below

Overview

This double-DVD set, issued to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of the film Oklahoma!, is as thorough a treatment as the film has ever received. The presence of both the CinemaScope and Todd-AO versions of the movie -- and the latter was last seen on a special laserdisc edition released more than a decade before -- has allowed the producers to include two completely different commentary tracks, one by scholars Ted Chapin and Hugh Fordin on the CinemaScope film, and by Nick Redman and star Shirley Jones on the Todd-AO version of the movie; each balances the other perfectly, in terms of the focus of the two different commentaries, and on that basis alone it's worth watching both versions of the movie. One wishes that the same could be said for both tranfers -- in this presentation, however, the CinemaScope version of Oklahoma! is so superior to the Todd-AO version of the movie that the latter is almost a waste of viewing time, except for the most serious scholars of the film or the musical; and the irony is that it should be the other way around -- Todd-AO was so superior a format to CinemaScope, that it should be the latter version that is secondary. Todd-AO was the superior format in every respect (a fact of which we are told and reminded constantly on both commentary tracks and in two of the supplementary film shorts), and only failed because too few theaters were set-up to show movies in that format. But the detail and color of the CinemaScope version of the movie here is exceptionally good, whereas the transfer on the Todd-AO version of the movie mutes many of these qualities for long stretches of the movie -- the word around the high-end video grapevine, which no one at Fox Video has addressed one way or the other, is that Fox used a transfer of the Todd-AO film that was done in the mid-1990's for presentation on American Movie Classics, which would explain many of its deficiencies. The commentary track by Shirley Jones still makes it worth watching, more than once, in fact, but in terms of what you actually see on the screen, it is a serious disappointment. The first platter contains the CinemaScope movie with commentary, a singalong function, and a trailer. The second disc is loaded up with the Todd-AO film plus commentary, and a pair of featurettes, one new to this DVD and the other done at the time, showcasing Todd-AO as a viewing experience (especially ironic given the results here); musical excerpts from a 1954 television tribute to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II; plus a trailer, stills gallery, and a singalong function. Each platter opens automatically to a multi-layer but easy-to-use menu, and both editions of the movie have the same generous chapter encoding.

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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:
11/15/2005
UPC:
0024543208433
Original Release:
1955
Rating:
G
Source:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
1
Time:
2:25:00
Sales rank:
15,196

Special Features

Closed Caption; CinemaScope version of Oklahoma (2.55:1 aspect ratio); Audio commentary by Ted Chapin (president of The Rogers and Hammerstein Organization) and Hugh Fordin (author and film historian); Singalong karaoke subtitles (English); Theatrical teaser; Todd-AO version of Oklahoma (2.20:1 aspect ratio); Audio commentary by Shirley Jones and nick Redman (film and music historian); "CinemaScope vs. Todd-AO" featurette; "The March of Todd-AO" featurette; "The Miracle of Todd-AO" featurette; Vintage stage excerpts from a 1954 television tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein; Singalong karaoke subtitles (English); Photo galleries - behind the scenes, lobby cards and posters; Theatrical teaser and trailer

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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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Oklahoma
1. Main Titles
2. Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'
3. Aunt Eller and Laurey
4. The Surrey With the Fringe on Top
5. The Hired Hand
6. Jud's Attentions
7. Will's Return
8. Kansas City
9. Ado Annie and the Peddler Man
10. I Cain't Say No
11. Pretty Doodaddles
12. Marriage Talk
13. I Cain't Say No (Reprise)
14. Here Come the Neighbors
15. Many a New Day
16. The Peddler's Bride
17. People Will Say We're in Love
18. Pore Jud Is Daid
19. A Pair of Fools
20. No More Pictures
21. Out of My Dreams
22. Laurey's Dream Ballet
23. Jud and Laurey's Wild Ride
24. The Farmer and the Cowman
25. The Auction
26. Fifty Bucks
27. Auctioning Ado Annie
28. The Price for Laurey
29. All Er Nuthin'
30. Fired
31. Curly's Proposal
32. People Will Say We're in Love (Reprise)
33. Goodbye in Persian
34. No More Roundups
35. The Wedding
36. Oklahoma
37. Gertie's New Husband
38. Jud's Wedding Gift
39. A Fair Trial
40. Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' (Reprise)/End Titles
Disc #2 -- Oklahoma
1. Overture
2. Main Titles
3. Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'
4. Aunt Eller and Laurey
5. The Surrey With the Fringe on Top
6. The Hired Hand
7. Jud's Attentions
8. Will's Return
9. Kansas City
10. Ado Annie and the Peddler Man
11. I Cain't Say No
12. Pretty Doodaddles
13. Marriage Talk
14. I Cain't Say No (Reprise)
15. Here Come the Neighbors
16. Many a New Day
17. The Peddler's Bride
18. People Will Say We're in Love
19. Pore Jud Is Daid
20. A Pair of Fools
21. No More Pictures
22. Out of My Dreams
23. Laurey's Dream Ballet
24. Intermission
25. Entr'Acte
26. Jud and Laurey's Wild Ride
27. The Farmer and the Cowman
28. The Auction
29. Fifty Bucks
30. Auctioning Ado Annie
31. The Price for Laurey
32. All Er Nuthin'
33. Fired
34. Curly's Proposal
35. People Will Say We're in Love (Reprise)
36. Goodbye in Persian
37. No More Roundups
38. The Wedding
39. Oklahoma
40. Gertie's New Husband
41. Jud's Wedding Gift
42. A Fair Trial
43. Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' (Reprise)/End Titles
44. Exit Music

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