This epic Western won the 1931 Academy Award for Best Picture. Heartthrob Richard Dix plays Yancey Cravat (yes, really, that’s his name) a frontiersman, newspaper editor, and former gunslinger who’s studly enough to fill in as preacher or lawyer should the situation demand. Yancey brings his young bride Sabra to the wild Oklahoma territory to taste the adventure, crusade for social justice, and leave his family for years at a time. Modern viewers will have trouble making it past one or two horrifying racist caricatures at the start, made doubly odd because of the film’s intended message of tolerance. Once it gets underway, though, Cimarron can be quite a bit of fun. Most of its pleasures are of the guilty variety–Dix’s performance in particular is endearingly huge–but there are a few genuine highlights. The Oklahoma Land Rush sequence is still exciting and wet blanket Sabra turns out to have far more gumption than anyone imagined.
1931, B&W, 123 minutes