Cimarron (1931)

124 mins | Drama | 9 February 1931

Full page view
HISTORY

The following statement is included in the film's opening credits: "For certain descriptive passages in Cimarron Miss Ferber makes acknowledgement to Hands Up by Fred E. Sutton and A. B. MacDonald." Sutton and MacDonald's novel was published in New York in 1927. According to an Oct 1932 LAEx news item, the studio bid $125,000 for the rights to Ferber's novel. That amount, which was also paid by Universal for the rights to Strictly Dishonorable , also produced in 1931 (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.4369), was the highest ever paid by motion picture companies for rights to literary properties, according to the news item. The picture's famous land rush scene, which required a week to film, was shot at Jasmin Quinn Ranch near Bakersfield, CA, according to studio production files. Publicity for the picture notes that 5,000 extras participated in that scene and forty-seven cameras were used to shoot it. An IP articles states that the land rush scene was shot by twenty-eight cameramen, six stillmen and twenty-seven assistants, to make a total camera crew of sixty-one, one of the largest group of cameramen ever assembled for one sequence. According to publicity, the Native Americans who appeared in the film were "made up white to appear coppery on the screen." Production files indicate that the film cost $1,434,800 to produce and went over budget by $354,114. Modern sources state that the picture lost $565,000 at the box office in its initial release. Some of this loss was recouped in a 1935 re-issue. The film had its premiere at the Globe Theater ... More Less

The following statement is included in the film's opening credits: "For certain descriptive passages in Cimarron Miss Ferber makes acknowledgement to Hands Up by Fred E. Sutton and A. B. MacDonald." Sutton and MacDonald's novel was published in New York in 1927. According to an Oct 1932 LAEx news item, the studio bid $125,000 for the rights to Ferber's novel. That amount, which was also paid by Universal for the rights to Strictly Dishonorable , also produced in 1931 (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.4369), was the highest ever paid by motion picture companies for rights to literary properties, according to the news item. The picture's famous land rush scene, which required a week to film, was shot at Jasmin Quinn Ranch near Bakersfield, CA, according to studio production files. Publicity for the picture notes that 5,000 extras participated in that scene and forty-seven cameras were used to shoot it. An IP articles states that the land rush scene was shot by twenty-eight cameramen, six stillmen and twenty-seven assistants, to make a total camera crew of sixty-one, one of the largest group of cameramen ever assembled for one sequence. According to publicity, the Native Americans who appeared in the film were "made up white to appear coppery on the screen." Production files indicate that the film cost $1,434,800 to produce and went over budget by $354,114. Modern sources state that the picture lost $565,000 at the box office in its initial release. Some of this loss was recouped in a 1935 re-issue. The film had its premiere at the Globe Theater in New York, where the top ticket price was $2.00. Cimarron won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Adaptation and Best Art Direction. It was nominated for Best Direction, Best Actor (Richard Dix), Best Actress (Irene Dunne) and Best Cinematography. FDYB included the film in its "one of the year's ten best pictures" list.
       Modern sources add the following cast credits: Clara Hunt ( Indian girl ), Bob Kortman ( Killer ) and Dennis O'Keefe (who at that time was known as Bud Flanagan ). William Janney is identified in the role of a "worker" by modern sources. In 1960 Anthony Mann directed Glenn Ford and Maria Schell in an M-G-M version of Ferber's novel (see below). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
EHW
27 Dec 30
p. 20.
Film Daily
18 Jan 31
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 30
p. 1, 3
International Photographer
1 Dec 30
p. 28.
Motion Picture Herald
3 Jan 31
p. 71.
Motion Picture Herald
17 Jan 31
p. 58.
Motion Picture Herald
31 Jan 31
pp. 27-30.
New York Times
27 Jan 31
p. 20.
Variety
28 Jan 31
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Wesley Ruggles Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr version and dial
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst cam
Asst cam
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
Cam crew--Land rush scenes
ART DIRECTORS
Scenery and Costumes by
Asst art dir
FILM EDITOR
SOUND
Asst rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Chief elec
Loc meals served by
Research
Trick rider
Trick rider
Trick rider
Trick rider
Trick rider
Trick rider
Trick rider
Trick rider
Trick rider
Trick rider
Trick rider
Trick rider
Trick rider
Trick rider
Trick rider
Still photog
Gen press rep
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Cimarron by Edna Ferber (New York, 1930).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
9 February 1931
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 26 January 1931
Production Date:
27 August--22 November 1930
retakes 18 November--3 December 1930
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1930
Copyright Number:
LP1930
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Photophone System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
124
Length(in feet):
11,182
Length(in reels):
13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Inspired by his adventures during the 1889 Oklahoma land rush, Yancey Cravat, a freewheeling lawyer and newspaper editor, convinces his Eastern-bred wife Sabra to leave her stuffy Wichita family and join him in the West. Although Sabra finds Osage, the Oklahoma "boomer town" that Yancey has chosen to start his newspaper, rough and squalid, she settles there with him and, with help from their young black servant Isaiah, undertakes to bring up her son "Cim." Soon after his arrival, Yancey confronts local outlaw and bully Lon Yountis with the murder of the newspaper's previous editor. During an "all-faiths church meeting," which Yancey has been asked to conduct at the town gambling hall, Yancey threatens to identify the editor's killer and is shot at by Lon. In self-defense, Yancey kills Lon, then dismisses his "flock," which includes Dixie Lee, a maligned prostitute whom Yancey had befriended during the land rush. A year later, after the birth of the Cravats' daughter Donna, Osage is besieged by an outlaw gang led by The Kid, an old cowboy friend of Yancey's. Although Yancey kills The Kid during a fierce gun battle, which also claims the life of the loyal Isaiah, he refuses to collect any reward for his deed and bemoans The Kid's downfall. In 1893, a new "Cherokee Strip" land rush is announced, and Yancey, who has never stayed in one place for more than five years, deserts the much-settled Sabra to participate in it. Helped and supported by expert printer Jesse Rickey and department store owner Sol Levy, Sabra, who knows nothing of Yancey's whereabouts, takes over the newspaper. Five years later, dressed in a ... +


Inspired by his adventures during the 1889 Oklahoma land rush, Yancey Cravat, a freewheeling lawyer and newspaper editor, convinces his Eastern-bred wife Sabra to leave her stuffy Wichita family and join him in the West. Although Sabra finds Osage, the Oklahoma "boomer town" that Yancey has chosen to start his newspaper, rough and squalid, she settles there with him and, with help from their young black servant Isaiah, undertakes to bring up her son "Cim." Soon after his arrival, Yancey confronts local outlaw and bully Lon Yountis with the murder of the newspaper's previous editor. During an "all-faiths church meeting," which Yancey has been asked to conduct at the town gambling hall, Yancey threatens to identify the editor's killer and is shot at by Lon. In self-defense, Yancey kills Lon, then dismisses his "flock," which includes Dixie Lee, a maligned prostitute whom Yancey had befriended during the land rush. A year later, after the birth of the Cravats' daughter Donna, Osage is besieged by an outlaw gang led by The Kid, an old cowboy friend of Yancey's. Although Yancey kills The Kid during a fierce gun battle, which also claims the life of the loyal Isaiah, he refuses to collect any reward for his deed and bemoans The Kid's downfall. In 1893, a new "Cherokee Strip" land rush is announced, and Yancey, who has never stayed in one place for more than five years, deserts the much-settled Sabra to participate in it. Helped and supported by expert printer Jesse Rickey and department store owner Sol Levy, Sabra, who knows nothing of Yancey's whereabouts, takes over the newspaper. Five years later, dressed in a "Rough Riders" uniform, Yancey returns to Osage just as Sabra and a group of "decent women" are about to try Dixie Lee as a "public nuisance." Yancey successfully defends the misunderstood Dixie in court, then convinces his less tolerant wife of Dixie's essential goodness. After Oklahoma obtains statehood in 1907 and the oil boom has brought prosperity to some of the Osage Indians, Yancey, who has been approached to participate in a political scheme to trick the Indians out of their wealth, writes a provocative editorial favoring citizenship for all American Indians. Despite the heated objections of Sabra, who has always loathed the Indians and who is repulsed by her son's romantic involvement with an Indian chief's daughter, Yancey publishes the editorial and then disappears. Many years later, after the fortieth anniversary of the newspaper's founding, Sabra is elected as Oklahoma's first Congresswoman. During a luncheon in her honor, a more tolerant Sabra speaks fondly of her Indian daughter-in-law and her long-lost husband. Just before she is to dedicate a statue honoring the Oklahoma pioneers, Sabra hears that a tramp called "Old Yance" has risked his own life to save many oil drillers from a deadly explosion. Sabra rushes to the accident site in time to embrace Yancey before his death, then discovers that the statue has been sculpted in his image. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.