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Cimarron (1960)


AndrewSchone
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After showing on July 23rd, the host's (Dave Karger) after film comments were really off base, so much so I wonder if he or whoever wrote his  comments has seen the film!  It's true that the film was a flop, but NOT as the host said, because the director, Anthony Mann chose to emphasize the male character, Yancy, rather than his wife, Sabra. 

The film's major flaw is that it's last third focuses mostly on the wife, and entirely in it's last twenty minutes or so.  Sabra is  mostly an unsympathetic, unlikeable character.  She's a wannabe social climber, selfish, and a racist (primarily toward the Native American mother and daughter who are her longtime servents).  Yancy is a real hero, highly principaled, brave, likeable, except that he deserts his wife (but the movie still portrays him as it's hero to it's end).  

Another flaw in the last third of the film is how episodicly and briefly it covers events of twenty years or so.  And the ending doesn't ring true, Sabra suddenly and without any motivation, accepts her son's Native American wife.  And the swindling, corrupt movers and shakers of the town decide Cimarron was really a great guy that the town should memorialize--again without any motivation being shown to the audience.

Years ago, I read that significant portions of the film were left on the cutting room floor, including a larger part for Ann Baxter's character.  This jibes with the rushed, episodic nature of the last portion of the movie. 

And it's unfair to blame Anthony Mann.  This was a work for hire, and I am quite sure he had little or no input on how the film was edited. He hated the way the film turned out.  So again the host's comments were very off base.

Despite it's shortcomings, Cimarron still is worth watching.  The Oklahoma land rush sequence is outstanding -- impressive and exciting large scale action, expertly handled by talented stunt people and very well edited.  Other strong points include some beautiful outdoor cinematography, the musical score, and a moving, accomplished performance by Aline McMahon (here an old lady, in the early 30's a Warners wise cracking, worldly wise gold digger).

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I prefer this version over the original Oscar-winning production from 1931. Maybe a better film was left on the cutting room floor by the editors but it's irrelevant to me. I look at what is before us on screen and much of it works in its final form.

When a TCM host goes out of his way to call something a flop he's really trying to say it's not a classic. And this channel shows classic movies. So extol the virtues of what works, tell the viewer what is classic about it, not what isn't classic or how much money it lost at the box office.

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18 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

I prefer this version over the original Oscar-winning production from 1931. Maybe a better film was left on the cutting room floor by the editors but it's irrelevant to me. I look at what is before us on screen and much of it works in its final form.

When a TCM host goes out of his way to call something a flop he's really trying to say it's not a classic. And this channel shows classic movies. So extol the virtues of what works, tell the viewer what is classic about it, not what isn't classic or how much money it lost at the box office.

To me when a TCM host calls something a 'flop' they are just stating historical information:

According to Wiki:  According to MGM records the film earned $2,325,000 in the US and Canada and $2,500,000 overseas, resulting in an overall loss of $3,618,000.

I agree that box office take or lack thereof doesn't relate to if a film is a 'classic' (a good film that I would recommend someone watch),   but I never got the impression the host was trying to use the fact that a film wasn't profitable to say it wasn't a 'classic'.

E.g.  the so-so box office take of Citizen Kane is often sited.       

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2 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

To me when a TCM host calls something a 'flop' they are just stating historical information:

According to Wiki:  According to MGM records the film earned $2,325,000 in the US and Canada and $2,500,000 overseas, resulting in an overall loss of $3,618,000.

I agree that box office take or lack thereof doesn't relate to if a film is a 'classic' (a good film that I would recommend someone watch),   but I never got the impression the host was trying to use the fact that a film wasn't profitable to say it wasn't a 'classic'.

E.g.  the so-so box office take of Citizen Kane is often sited.       

A host can choose which historical information to mention or "play up" when introducing a movie. Choosing to say something is a flop is choosing to say something negative when there are so many more positive things that could probably be said instead. Also there are many films that were blockbusters back in the day and do not hold up well with time. So saying something was a big hit is not exactly going to make a modern viewer appreciate it more if it's still not a very good film.

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24 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

A host can choose which historical information to mention or "play up" when introducing a movie. Choosing to say something is a flop is choosing to say something negative when there are so many more positive things that could probably be said instead. Also there are many films that were blockbusters back in the day and do not hold up well with time. So saying something was a big hit is not exactly going to make a modern viewer appreciate it more if it's still not a very good film.

I guess we view this differently;  Like I said all I see is the host providing info about a film: positive things and negative things.     

I don't wish for the host to avoid saying negative facts as long as the host is 'balanced'.     I would have an issue if the host said only positive things or only negative things (since to me doing either is misleading, since all creative works have both positive and negative traits). 

 

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14 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I guess we view this differently;  Like I said all I see is the host providing info about a film: positive things and negative things.     

I don't wish for the host to avoid saying negative facts as long as the host is 'balanced'.     I would have an issue if the host said only positive things or only negative things (since to me doing either is misleading, since all creative works have both positive and negative traits). 

I'm not sure we have to worry about seeing things differently or the same. For me, a discussion of flops or hits is best reserved for an in-depth analysis of box office data. But a short little intro, where the goal is to get the viewer to sample a film and give it a try, is where the host should probably work a bit harder to promote it and extol its virtues. Otherwise why show it, why expect anyone to watch?

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15 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

I'm not sure we have to worry about seeing things differently or the same. For me, a discussion of flops or hits is best reserved for an in-depth analysis of box office data. But a short little intro, where the goal is to get the viewer to sample a film and give it a try, is where the host should probably work a bit harder to promote it and extol its virtues. Otherwise why show it, why expect anyone to watch?

I guess from your perspective it was a good thing the host didn't mention that the 1931 version won 3 Academy awards,  one being for outstanding-production.

PS:  I point this out because it was a trivia question I recently saw on a 70s game show; What was the only Western to win a 'best picture' Oscar.     When I heard the film was Cimarron I assumed they meant the 60s film since I wasn't even aware there was a 1931 version.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I guess from your perspective it was a good thing the host didn't mention that the 1931 version won 3 Academy awards,  one being for outstanding-production.

PS:  I point this out because it was a trivia question I recently saw on a 70s game show; What was the only Western to win a 'best picture' Oscar.     When I heard the film was Cimarron I assumed they meant the 60s film since I wasn't even aware there was a 1931 version.

This is not about perspective or opinion. It's about hooking a new viewer into the classics. That's what an intro accomplishes. 

Mentioning the Oscars a previous version received does not really entice a viewer to watch the remake. That info is probably best used for an intro for the 1931 version. 

Since the 70s we've had a few other westerns named Best Picture by the Academy. DANCES WITH WOLVES and UNFORGIVEN come to mind.

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14 hours ago, TopBilled said:

This is not about perspective or opinion. It's about hooking a new viewer into the classics. That's what an intro accomplishes. 

Mentioning the Oscars a previous version received does not really entice a viewer to watch the remake. That info is probably best used for an intro for the 1931 version. 

Since the 70s we've had a few other westerns named Best Picture by the Academy. DANCES WITH WOLVES and UNFORGIVEN come to mind.

Yes,  I understand that you wish for the intros to be only positive comments to entice new viewers to watch a film.   

I assume that by the time someone turns to TCM and is watching the into they are already enticed to watch a film and the presentation of any historical facts related to a film isn't going to 'turn them off' from watching it.  

But hey,  I never viewed the intro comments as enticing new viewers,  but then again,  I'm NOT a new viewer (e.g. 95% of the films TCM shows,  even the ones I haven't seen,  since I'm been 'into' such films for almost 40 years).    

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34 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Yes,  I understand that you wish for the intros to be only positive comments to entice new viewers to watch a film.   

I assume that by the time someone turns to TCM and is watching the into they are already enticed to watch a film and the presentation of any historical facts related to a film isn't going to 'turn them off' from watching it.  

But hey,  I never viewed the intro comments as enticing new viewers,  but then again,  I'm NOT a new viewer (e.g. 95% of the films TCM shows,  even the ones I haven't seen,  since I'm been 'into' such films for almost 40 years).    

Your second paragraph seems full of assumptions to me...some people are just coming to TCM for the first time. And they may have been channel surfing. The intro could be the enticement.

Maybe you are deliberately misinterpreting me because you don't respect what I am saying. I never said the intros only need to have positive comments. But yes, I do think the intros should keep in mind new fans of classic film. So if something negative is mentioned it has to be carefully presented so it doesn't make a person change the channel. I am sure one of TCM's goals is to instill a love of the classics in new viewers.

That won't happen if the host is going on about how much of a failure the picture was. It's probably better if the disparaging commentary is saved until the concluding remarks, after the film, so that the host's biases do not color a new viewer's experience going into the movie for the first time. That's all I'm saying. I am not on the warpath about positivity versus negativity. Only that the presentation of the classics should be fairly presented so viewers, especially first-time viewers, can be encouraged to experience the film without prejudice.

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