Friday, September 13, 2013

Cimarron (1960)


Learning about the Mid West of the United States has never interested me. Maybe that is the fault of history classes in school or most likely because I live in New Jersey and we are taught mostly about the north east and industry and just skim through Western Expansion. Well, I think we skim through it I have not been in high school for a number of years now I cannot remember. All I know about Custer’s Last Stand is that he fought against the Indians over land and he died. Then there is the Gold Rush. And one of the reasons California grew was because of the film industry. There is my knowledge of places West of New Jersey (God, I sound like a jerk. I apologize to those people living out West). All that long winded rambling being said, Westerns are not my favorite genre of films and as always I watch them for the actors in. Cimarron I watched because Glenn Ford plays the main character. It is one of the only Westerns I did not mind sitting through although it is a bit too long.
            Sabra Cravat is moving out West to settle in Oklahoma with her husband Yancy “Cimarron” Cravat (Ford). Her parents are furious they do not want her to leave. Sabra tells her parents she goes wherever her husband goes. On the way out West Cimarron meets a lot of people he knows. They admire and respect him. When they make it to a certain spot in the West they witness a fight between an Indian man and a white man. The white man does not like the fact that the Indian man is trying to claim land like they are. Unfortunately the Indian man is hung. Cimarron stops the white man from doing any further damage. Now the white man has a grudge against Cimarron.
            Cimarron and Sabra settle in the new town. Cimarron took over a newspaper business from a friend who had died during the land rush. The paper does well letting the couple live comfortably. Trouble comes when Cimarron defends an Indian girl after she is kicked out of a school. The community does not want the little girl in the school with their children. Cimarron tries to talk to the board about letting the girl go to school. Local business owner threaten to pull their advertisements out of his paper if he tries to make any trouble.
            News comes through that President Cleveland is planning to open up six million acres of Indian land. Cimarron really wants to go. He is dying to out on a new adventure. Sabra is completely against him going off because they are established in the town. Cimarron leaves Sabra and his son behind to go. Cimarron is away for two years and in that time Sabra has not heard from. She finds out that a local woman named Dixie (Anne Baxter) has been in touch with him all this time. Dixie tells Sabra the last time she heard from Cimmaron he was in Cuba with the Rough Riders.
            Cimarron eventually comes back to Sabra and his son. He cannot stay still in town for very long. One of their friends becomes an important man in Washington. He invites Cimarron to DC to have him appointed to sheriff of a new territory. Cimarron turns the job down. Sabra is furious with him. She goes to another one of their friends for a loan. She wants to build up their newspaper. This is her way of building up the social standing she always craved for.
            Years later Sabra has built up a popular selling newspaper making great money. Yancy Jr. married the Indian girl Ruby much to his mother’s disappointment. Sabra feels her son is throwing away his life just like his father. Sabra has not seen or heard from Cimarron in ten years and Yancy Jr. does not write to her very often. She has been left alone with her social standing.
            Twenty-five years have passed since Cimarron and Sabra took over the paper. Her friends throw her a party for the anniversary. Yancy Jr. and his family come to celebrate. Cimarron does not show up. Sometime after the party Sabra gets a letter from Cimarron that he is now fighting in Europe in World War I. It was his last letter. She receives a telegram that Cimarron has died in action.
            Glenn Ford was fantastic. He has not disappointed me in all the films I have seen of his so far. Ford was perfect as Cimarron, he had the look and temperament. The character just wanted to seek adventure and travel. He did not care for a social standing like his wife did he just wanted to live. The actress who played Sabra was annoying. The character was such a bitch. I have not read the book and I can only hope the character was not a pain in that.

            Cimarron was one of the better Westerns I have seen. I am totally not into stories or history of settling the West so I got a bit bored after some time. As I said it was a bit too long. There were some scenes that definitely could have been taken out. Glenn Ford makes the film bearable. Cimarron is worth watching at least once.