This is a general forum about western movies. All topics about western films are welcome. Forbidden stuff: Politics, religion and other sensitive stuff, spam, trolling. Please be nice to other people here.
HomeCalendarFAQSearchMemberlistUsergroupsRegisterLog in

Share | 

 Cimarron (1930/1960, Wesley Ruggles/Anthony Mann)

Go down 

Posts : 6
Join date : 2010-05-31

PostSubject: Cimarron (1930/1960, Wesley Ruggles/Anthony Mann)   Sat Jun 12, 2010 5:24 pm

*Director(s): Wesley Ruggles (1930), Anthony Mann (1960)
*Cast: Richard Dix (1930), Irene Dunne (1930), Estelle Taylor (1930)-Glenn Ford (1960), Maria Schell (1960), Anne Baxter (1960)

Based on the popular Edna Ferber novel, Cimarron (1930) was a landmark western. Being the first ever to win Best Picture. Remade some 30 years later, Cimarron (1960), is a less popular yet more cinematically friendly version of Ferber's novel and less a remake of the 1930 version.

The story chronicles some ~40 years of the rise of the Cravat family in the growing state of Oklahoma. From 1889-1929 (1915 in the 1960 version). Yancey Cravat, a charming and adventurous man leads his pregnant wife South to Oklahoma to take part in the land rush and stake their fortune. When their desired land is taken by a determined young prostitute, they decide to settle in the growing town of Osage to start a newspaper business. They deal with outlaws, racism, anti-semitism, temperance, war, and politics.

Let me reiterate this fact, the 1960 version of Cimarron is not a remake of the 1930 version. It is a seperate adaptation of Ferber's novel. The two films have significant differences between them. 1960 adds some new characters while also completely leaves out others from 1930. It also starts differently. 1930 starts right at the land rush starting line. 1960 develops it's characters first then leads up to the land rush. The character of Issaiah, a young black servant from the 1930 version is gone in the 1960 version. Probably to eliminate any claims of racism from the racially sensitive audiences of the 60's. And although a sympathetic character, their is some mention of his love of watermelons which would not be kosher nowadays. Some character relationships are given deeper roots in 1960. Particularly between Yancey and his young outlaw friend. And the fate of some of the characters is different.

It's somewhat hard to compare these films as they were made at radically different times. By 1930, sound was a new thing for films. And in early talkies, there some little musical background save for the opening and closing. This tends to strip the films of emotional effect. Especially when compared to the 1960 version with it's rather large score by Franz Waxman. Beyond that, it does become easier to compare them. 1930 is a more satisfying film in the end because it moves at a much quicker pace and stays rather focused while the 1960 version tries to give every character a whole story. It tries to focus on everyone. However, I said earlier that 1960 was a more cinematically friendly version. I say this because of it's grandiose score which accentuates the emotional backdrop of the scene. Also, the characters are much more developed so we can relate to them much easier. And it also features a much better land rush scene, the main point of interest for Cimarron in general. So despite the earlier version being easier to watch and more satisfying, I still prefer the 1960 version.

Another plus for either of these films is that they are based on an incredibly good story. I suppose I could say that these films succeed where Once Upon a Time in America failed. They both chronicle the lives of people in a growing nation. But Cimarron (both) is more successful because the characters are much more interesting. OUATIA's characters are ordinary and cliched gangsters that could have been in any number of gangster movies. Cimarron's characters are distinct. They are individual, unique, and fresh. But my main point is that the saga storyline works very well here. We get two distinct time periods. And the fact that these people have lead extraordinary lives and that we've seen them in all stages of success and poverty is truly interesting.

There's no denying that 1960 is better directed. Anthony Mann was a skilled director. Yet this is also an unfair statement because 1930 was a different time altogether and film was still maturing. But on the whole, 1960 makes some better cinematic choices. However, it seems obvious that Anthony Mann was a little frustrated with the film. He was known for his location shooting which he very much enjoyed. He used the landscape to parallel the mood of a scene. Much like Man From Laramie and the tense scenes on the cliff to show that the characters are in peril of some sort. Yet some of the more dramatic scenes in 1960 Cimarron were shot on soundstages do to studio insistance. Particularly where the local bully (Charles McGraw) hangs an Indian settler for stealing horses (but really for just being an Indian). The burning tee pees are supposed to emphasize the "heated" scene. But it's all on a cheap soundstage which is a shame for both a Mann film and an epic Western. Also, it seems clear that Mann was trying hard to shoehorn in some of his usual character drama. Yancey feels guilt over letting his dead friends son become an outlaw. Especially after being asked to take of the boy. Wesley Ruggles does a very good job with the 1930 version as well (though the early period still evident). His town scenes are much more busy with a lot more background action. All these things going on at once on a huge set are not easy to handle.

The acting in both films is good. Richard Dix (1930) is surprisingly good as Yancey Cravat. And for an early actor, it's surprising that he seems to overcome overacting. Instead, he comes off as an eccentric character. Glenn Ford is also very good as the same character. Equally charming and adventurous. This truely is a great character for any actor to play. Maria Schell plays Cravat's wife in 1960. Here, her character gets much more attention. And Schell's acting is also rather good. It definitley is her benefit to have a very expressive face. Irene Dunne (1930) is of little note but plays her character as a much more pompous sort. Much like the old, stuck up, temperance ladies she keeps company with.

Though both films have their fair share of critics. 1930 has the lowest IMDb rating of any Best Picture winner. And 1960 is usually just panned. However, their both very good films with great characters and interesting stories. Check them out.
Back to top Go down
View user profile

Posts : 34
Join date : 2010-05-10
Location : England

PostSubject: Re: Cimarron (1930/1960, Wesley Ruggles/Anthony Mann)   Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:15 am

Thanks for the review korano; I've never heard of Anthony Mann's remake of "Cimarron" before; I'll have to check it out.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Cimarron (1930/1960, Wesley Ruggles/Anthony Mann)
Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
» Anthony's art
» 1930 Ford Model A Coupe
» 1960 Pontiac Bonneville
» Bonsai story from 1960 to 2010
» Poole Pottery 1960-1980 Part One

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Western movie forum :: American westerns (pre-70's)-
Jump to: