Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Oklahoma! - 50th Anniversary Edition

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
7 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: G

Starring:
Gordon MacRae as Curly McLain
Gloria Grahame as Ado Annie Carnes
Gene Nelson as Will Parker
Charlotte Greenwood as Aunt Eller Murphy
Shirley Jones as Laurey Williams
Eddie Albert as Ali Hakim
James Whitmore as Andrew Carnes
Rod Steiger as Jud Fry
Barbara Lawrence as Gertie Cummings
Jay C. Flippen as Ike Skidmore
Roy Barcroft as Marshal Cord Elam
James Mitchell as Dream Curly
Bambi Linn as Dream Laurey

Special Features:
1955 Cinemascope feature (2.55 aspect ratio)

Commentary by Ted Chapin and Hugh Fordin

Theatrical teaser

Sing-along subtitles

Separate chapter list for songs only with Play All feature

1955 Todd AO Version (2.20 aspect ratio)

Commentary by Shirley Jones and Nick Redman

Sing-along subtitles

Separate chapter list for songs only with Play All feature

Cinemascope vs. Todd AO featurette

Vintage stage excerpts: Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' performed by Gordon MacRae, People Will Say We're in Love performed by Gordon MacRae & Florence Henderson

Theatrical teaser and theatrical trailer

Still galleries: Behind the Scenes

Lobby cards and one-sheets

The Miracle of Todd-AO

The March of Todd-AO

Other Info:
Cinemascope Widescreen (2.55:1)
Todd AO Widescreen (2.20:1)
Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround Sound
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 145 Minutes

Synopsis:
Oklahoma was originally released in 1955. The following is from the DVD cover:

"Fifty years after the film debut of one of the world's most popular musicals comes this exclusive 2-disc commemorative set. Featuring engaging commentaries, singalong subtitles, revealing featurettes and more, this all-new DVD release offers a unique look behind-the-scenes of a cinematic classic!

From its Broadway roots to its motion picture success, Oklahoma! contains soaring melodies and joyous songs in a loving celebration of the American spirit. Winner of two 1955 Academy Awards for Best Sound Recording and Best Scoring of a Musical Picture, the film stars Shirley Jones as a young prairie woman with two suitors - good-natured Curly (Gordon MacRae) and the hired hand, Jud (Rod Steiger)."

Oklahoma is rated G.

Mini-Review:
Oklahoma is one of those movies that my sisters watched so many times that I have every line and every song involuntarily drilled into my head. The film drives me nuts. But despite that, I recognize that my wife and daughter will get a big kick out of it. For that, it's worth having around for them to check out. I'll just have to leave the house when they do or I'll have "Oh What A Beautiful Morning", "Oklahoma", or any of the other songs stuck in my head for weeks.

Two versions of the film are included here – the Cinemascope version and the Todd AO version. What? You don't know the difference? Well neither did I until I watched the bonus features. Cinemascope is your standard widescreen format. However, Todd AO is that format where the screen wraps around your field of vision and makes you feel like you're in the film. It's like those films that make you feel like you're on a rollercoaster, dune buggy, etc. The Todd AO version is slightly different in that it features scenes to make you feel like you're in Oklahoma. For example, it looks like you're on the wagon as it runs away at the beginning of the film. The movie also opens with different credits and it makes you feel like you're walking through a cornfield. Without the full Todd AO effect, the scenes aren't all that effective, but at least they're included here for movie buffs.

The rest of the bonus features aren't all that great. I suspect other Oklahoma DVDs have more interesting features. There are a couple of features on Todd AO. One shows footage of a jet flying over the Middle East, the Vatican, and the pope. Another features scenes of roller coasters and such. If you want any info on the making of the films, you'll have to listen to the commentary with Shirley Jones. Also included is some footage from a Rogers & Hammerstein TV special that aired on all the US networks simultaneously. Florence Henderson from the Brady Bunch actually sings "People Will Say We're in Love". You'll also find photo galleries, trailers, and karaoke.

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