Oklahoma! (1955)

Genres - Musical, Western  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Western, Americana, Musical Romance  |   Release Date - Oct 11, 1955 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 145 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Michael Betzold

There may have been better musicals, but few left as lasting a cultural impact as Oklahoma!, whose optimistic, broadly American songs by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein became instant and permanent classics. The enduring and endearing music in this Western included the enchanting Oh What a Beautiful Morning! and the clever Surrey with the Fringe on Top as well as the title song. It was based on the smash Broadway play that had its run in the 1940s. Shirley Jones made her film debut as the country girl who falls in love with a cowboy (Gordon MacRae) but is pursued by a sinister farmhand (Rod Steiger, in one of his earliest roles). At 145 minutes, the film is a little too pleased with itself, but the fresh, sunny impact of the movie triumphed. Its corny sentiments perfectly fit the mood of expansive, contented mid-1950s America. The film actually was shot in Arizona!