Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1955. Magna Theatre Corporation, Rodgers & Hammerstein Productions. Screenplay by Sonya Levien, William Ludwig, based on the musical play by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, from the play Green Grow The Rushes by Lynn Riggs. Cinematography by Robert Surtees. Produced by Arthur Hornblow Jr.. Music by Richard Rodgers. Production Design by Oliver Smith. Costume Design by Sophie Devine, Orry-Kelly. Film Editing by George Boemler. Academy Awards 1955.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first musical success arrives on the big screen with all its gorgeous beauty and lively songs intact. Shirley Jones couldn’t be cuter as Laurey Morgan, a young girl in turn-of-the-century Oklahoma (a territory on the verge of becoming a state at the time), who resists her feelings for Curley (Gordon MacRae) while being harassed by the menacing (and, well, insane) Jed (Rod Steiger). On the side, Gene Nelson and Gloria Grahame have a little romance in dire straits because Ado Annie (Grahame) just “cain’t say no” to any men who “talks purty” to her. All the songs are memorable, climaxing with the Act I Finale ballet sequence, probably one of the best examples of dance on film (choreographed by Agnes deMille) and the best part of the film. The music is all scored richly and to perfection, with state-of-the-art sound adding much to the overall experience.