Flickchart Road Trip: Oklahoma

Derek Armstrong

Derek is a film critic, currently writing for the Australian film website ReelGood as well as his personal blog, The Audient.

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9 Responses

  1. Jandy says:

    That extended ballet is central to the history of musical theatre, though. It’s the first time musical theatre told story through dance – and while you can argue that it mostly just dance-izes the story/love triangle we already know through the spoken narrative, it’s how Laurey actually comes to terms with what she really wants. No show had used dance except as ornamentation before Oklahoma!

    Also, when I was ten or twelve, I would’ve killed to play Ado Annie in a production of Oklahoma! Such was not to take place, however. But she was my first introduction to Gloria Grahame, who has become one of my favorite actresses, however uncomfortable she was with the musical requirements of her part. Somehow her awkwardness only endeared her to me more as a kid.

    • Derek Armstrong says:

      That’s interesting to know, Jandy, but I’m not sure it changes my perspective on its usage in this film. I still think that sequence is excessive. However, it does show how the influences of the Busby Berkeley era of cinema were still present into the 1950s. There was still the idea of cinema existing as much to serve as spectacle as to accomplish storytelling in an efficient manner. There’s little efficiency to be found anywhere in this movie.

      What surprised me the most was how little I remembered about the actual plot (or lack thereof). It did all come back to me, but as I was preparing to watch it, I thought, “What actually HAPPENS in Oklahoma!?” I guess even at the time I appeared in it, I must have recognized it was pretty slight. Of course, actually performing in a show has a tendency to blind you to some of its faults — you’re just having fun and happy to be there.

    • Derek Armstrong says:

      Also, are the reasons I listed more or less the reasons Oklahoma! is disliked by your musical theater friends, to whom you alluded last week?

  2. First Tombstone and now Twister, huh? Here’s why Twister should have bested Oklahoma!

    You’re right that Twister is thin on story, but it has terrific characters who have great chemistry with one another. Watching Twister is like hanging out with old friends and screwing off in the summertime. Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Dusty alone is worth watching for two hours.

    Also, while I readily concede that the Rodgers & Hammerstein music is iconic, Twister has one of the best soundtracks of 1990s cinema and I say that without a shred of hyperbole. Mark Mancina’s score is warm, fun and energetic and the selections of pop, rock and country songs are solid. It’s a great road trip CD, actually, but I guess you’re gonna make us listen to showtunes all the way from here to wherever it is we’re going next.


  3. Carol Minette Miller says:

    I am so so glad you posted the idea that Jud was bullied by Curly. I was hoping he would end up happier than Curly.