One more musical today as I headed to Disney + for this entry in the DailyView. O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A… Oklahoma, Ok?
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma has been another film that I had an eyeball on for awhile, but it was quite long (2 hours 25 minutes- including an intermission).
Oklahoma is the story of a group of cowboys and farmers competing for the attention and love of the local ladies. The main story includes first, a love triangle between cowboy Curley (Gordon MacRae) and handyman Jud (Rod Steiger) for the affections of Laurey (Shirley Jones) and second, a cowboy Will (Gene Nelson) and Ado Annie (Gloria Grahame) try to get their relationship together while a peddler (Eddie Albert) gets in the way.
I knew many more songs in Oklahoma than I did in Hairspray or In the Heights. Even still, a few of the songs I had not heard of were really fun. My favorite was when Curley went to troll Jud and sang about his death and funeral, and had Jud singing with him. The lyrics of these songs were very clever. The song about the farmers and cowboys that kicked off the second part of the movie was great too, full of funny lines.
Rod Steiger’s Jud made for a menacing villain. His work during Laurey’s dream sequence was particularly frightening and he had several moments of sincere cruelty in his pursuit of Laurey’s love.
The film does not have much of a story outside of the two couples getting together. At times, Oklahoma does feel like it is a bunch of entertaining and fun musical numbers with great choreography strung together by minor story elements. Still, there is a lot of entertaining music and dancing and the actors are strong and charismatic. Plus, they talk with a funny accent.
One more shout out for the cast goes to Charlotte Greenwood who played Aunt Eller, the wise voice of the show. She was a hoot from the beginning and every moment of every scene she was in, she stole.
Is it a little too long? Yes. Could there have been more of a story? Probably. Oklahoma is still highly engaging and entertaining and worth the time.