The 1960 remake of Cimarron manages a slight improvement on the worst Best Picture (1931) in Academy Award history. Not that Edna Ferber's novel of pioneer Oklahoma was ever a movie natural. There's a plethora of themes--several species of prejudice, capitalism vs. charity, sons unhappily following in fathers' footsteps, and the irreconcilable tensions between a stability-craving wife and her footloose hero-husband--but the action is front-loaded and the husband (Glenn Ford) is offscreen for years at a time. Anthony Mann gets solo directorial credit, yet the movie seems more typical of his replacement, Charles Walters, a maker of pastel musicals. Most of the large cast comes and goes without establishing identities; Maria Schell's Sabra Cravat is tiresome as both ditz and pill. Photographed in CinemaScope and Metrocolor by Robert L. Surtees, the Oklahoma land rush is properly spectacular--though less impressive than John Ford's in Three Bad Men. --Richard T. Jameson
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