Classic Film Guide

Oklahoma! (1955)

If you've never seen this, don't miss it! I find it unbelievable that none of its songs (from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II) made AFI's 100 Top Movies Songs of All Time list. Shirley Jones's first film won Oscars for Best Music and Sound Recording, and it’s Editing & Color Cinematography were also nominated. It features a terrific cast including Gordon MacRae, Rod Steiger (in his only musical), Gloria Grahame, Charlotte Greenwood, James Whitmore & Eddie Albert and was directed by Fred Zinnemann (From Here to Eternity (1953) & A Man for All Seasons (1966)).

On a beautiful mornin’, cowboy Curly (MacRae) comes to call on his childhood gal pal Laurey (Jones), who lives on a farm with her Aunt Eller (Greenwood). Even though people have said they’re in love, Laurey plays "hard to get" on the eve of the big dance party. So, Curly ends up taking Eller in his surrey with the fringe on top. Laurey ends up being "forcibly" escorted by their rough and dirty farmhand Jud Fry (Steiger) who, though he’s poor, is very much alive. Will Parker (Gene Nelson) has returned from Kansas City, where everything’s up-to-date, to marry his girlfriend Ado Annie (Grahame), who "cain’t say no" and has gotten mixed up with peddler Ali Hakim (Albert). But Will is an all er nothin’ kind of guy, and Ali will get a three day belly ache and giggling Gertie (Barbara Lawrence) to boot. At Skidmore’s (Jay Flippen) dance party, the farmers and the cowmen can’t be friends. Then, there’s a dispute which leads to a death, and the judge (Whitmore) & Marshal (Roy Barcroft) must hold an impromptu court to decide the accused’s fate. The film ends with a rousing rendition of the title song O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A, Oklahoma, yeah!

Added to the National Film Registry in 2007.

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