I'm just a girl who cain't say no to reviews.
This is one of the few films on the National Film Registry that I grew up with, so it may be hard to divorce childhood feelings from being purely objective, but I'll try. This is one of the few nearly direct adaptations of a Rogers and Hammerstein musical – the only cuts made were two songs, and pretty much the only changes made were to take advantage of the expanded sets. After all, you can't really have a cowboy ride a horse onto a Broadway stage, let alone light a haystack on fire. This is one of those films from when it was fashionable to pull the action to a halt for an extended ballet sequence, and I have to admit that I hated it as a kid, but appreciate it more as an adult. Maybe because before my nervous system started decaying (that's right - multiple disabilities!) I had started taking dance lessons. I appreciate the artistry more, while as a kid, I wanted to get back to the action. The ballet in this one made particularly less sense to me, since Curly and Laurie are obviously not Curly and Laurie, but Jud is still Jud. Struck me as weird. It also struck me as weird that everyone was going on about how gorgeous Ado Annie was, when I thought she looked strange. I've since become acquainted with the tragic story of Gloria Grahame, the actress who played Ado Annie. She thought her upper lip was unattractive, and had so many plastic surgeries that she partially paralyzed her face from nerve damage. But then I don't know how sorry I can feel for her, because she also apparently molested her 13-year-old stepson, and later married him. Which... celebrity gossip isn't what I wanted to write about, but it does influence my watching of some movies.
Oklahoma! itself is kind of odd, in that it seems like the most wholesome musical to ever come down the pike (at least until The Sound of Music topped it by having singing nuns and folk dancing), but it also has a recurring subplot of dirty pictures and a whole musical number where our hero tries to rid himself of a rival by encouraging him to commit suicide. A family picture! Changing standards, I guess. There's also some slightly risque stuff with Ado Annie, but most of it will go over kid's heads. It certainly did mine. I got the stuff about shotgun weddings, but I didn't get the lines about how Will was worried that a baby might not look like him. Then there's the whole thing with the “Little Wonder” - the dirty picture scope with a knife hidden inside it. First, I'm wondering how no one explained it to Will when he bought it, and second, I'm wondering how it would kill anyone. From the way the blade springs out, it looks like it would give your fingers a nasty cut, or maybe slice your nose if you were holding it the other way, but I just can't figure out the logic on it actually killing someone. I'm probably overthinking it, but this has bothered me since I was 8.
This is a generally family friendly picture and a good one to watch if you like musicals. I still like 1776 better, though.