Cimarron (1931)

Tough going - looks older than Moses, with an excruciating yessir massasir comic relief black boy. The static, talky, anti-epic sensibility of early sound cinema means the film has to lean on long, highly involved dialogue scenes, especially in the riotous centerpiece sequence involving a frontier religious-cum-political gathering. Richard Dix's performance is freakin' weird, but it suits the mercurial, slightly cracked hero. Irene Dunne keeps pace as his blue-blood wife who slowly adopts her husband's frontier liberalism. Speaking of which, it's amusing how the film pitches itself as both a triumph of manifest destiny expansion whilst crying on its sleeve over Indian rights, and finally becomes a kind of feminist victory lap as Dunne ascends to Congress and Dix dies an anonymous death because of his nagging wanderlust.

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