Plot: What’s it about?
The concept of a land rush wasn’t a new one in 1889, but never had a rush of such epic proportions been undertaken. This rush covers around two million acres of land, all once settled by the Indians, but now to be home to whoever can stake their claims. Yancey Cravat (Richard Dix) has a prime claim in his sights, but ends up tricked by a woman who uses his kindness, then claims the land for herself. But Cravat won’t harm a woman, so he takes his family to the booming town of Osage instead. He takes a position of editor at the local paper, a risk of sorts, given that the previous editor was gunned down. Over the next few years, Cravat faces challenges of sorts, but never hesitates to stand his ground. He then leaves for five years as part of the Spanish-American War, only to return to even more confrontations. His life has been packed with more twists and turns than most, but will Cravat ever find a moment of peace?
This movie kicks off with a wild, action packed sequence, as the settlers battle it out to stake claim on the best plots of land. I like this sequence, it has high energy and lends an epic feel to the production, like what we’re about to see is a grand scale historical recreation. The sequence is well crafted and has good realism, a great start and the audience should be in high spirits. But then…the movie slows down. Not just a gradual slowing down process either, a full slam on the brakes stop. I don’t mind bad movies, but I hate dull movies and Cimarron is just plain dull. It runs over two hours and seems at least half an hour too long, I literally counted the minutes until the end credits. I was stunned when I found out this won Best Picture, but I shouldn’t have been, since rarely do good movies actually win Oscars. Unless you need help sleeping, leave Cimarron on the shelf, as you’ll sleep right through this one.
Video: How does it look?
Cimarron is presented in full frame, as intended. This is not a good visual presentation and since the movie won Best Picture, you’d think a restoration would be in order. Not only is this transfer not restored, it looks terrible and Warner really dropped the ball here. The print is riddled with damage, from mild debris to flickering and jumping, this is just not acceptable. I would expect this from a budget label, but not on a disc from Warner, especially one labeled as a Special Edition. Poor showing all around from Warner this time around, let’s hope a second release is in the pipeline at some point.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio sounds good, but lacks impact, which means the experience is adequate but not as good as it could be. The music takes the most active role, but dialogue is the true focus here. Every word comes across well, with nothing lost in the mix. You might wish for more presence in the more action driven scenes, but this is still a more than acceptable presentation. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French, in case you need those options.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This is labeled as a Special Edition, but all we have in terms of supplements are two bonus shorts, one musical and one cartoon. Wow Warner, how special!