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Oklahoma! Reviews

Watch it for the songs. A paean to Oklahoma's "Sooner" pioneers, it's a watchable, if hardly terrific, rendering of an innovative Broadway landmark. Boys (MacRae and Nelson) meet girls (Jones and Grahame); boys almost lose girls, all complicated by the villainous Jud Fry (Steiger, in a ridiculously hammy, off-key performance as the farmhand-from-hell). Although the score is, by now, deeply embedded in the minds of anyone who has ears, it gets spirited renditions here that are worth listening to. MacRae, in the best-remembered role of his career, gets the film off to a wonderful start with "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning." A very young Jones also makes a nice impression and became an instant star (though her film career never did take root), and Grahame, Greenwood, Albert and Lawrence have fun with their parts as well. In the Dream Ballet, choreographer Agnes DeMille followed what she did onstage and replaced non-dancing Jones and MacRae with Bambi Lynn and James Mitchell, respectively, thus unfortunately encouraging filmmakers to cast movie stars without musical comedy talent in adaptations of Broadway shows. OKLAHOMA! was actually shot outside of Nogales, Arizona, where the cast and crew put in nearly eight months of work, delayed by flash floods, one of which washed away a car containing a week's worth of film. Easy come, easy go.