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Cimarron (RKO). Edna Ferber's story of the birth and growth of the State of Oklahoma as reflected in the life of a newspaperman and his family was brilliantly cinematic in print and is vivid and memorable journalism as a cinema. It is a long, full-bodied picture, paced so deftly that although it covers more than half a century of crowded, changing events, it never drags and is rarely jerky. Westward goes Richard Dix with his wife (Irene Dunne) to start a newspaper in the town of Osage, Okla., which has sprung into a population of 10,000 in six weeks. He fights the outlawry that has terrorized the clapboard civilization; he establishes himself as the leading citizen of Osage and then disappears because success seems dull to him. He comes back again in a Rough Rider's uniform, goes into court to plead the defence of Estelle Taylor, the town's fanciest lady, whom his wife is about to have punished as a public nuisance; he loses a chance to be governor because he will not connive with politicians who are cheating the Indians out of their oil profits, then disappears again. The last episode, in which he turns up, a wastrel but still a hero, is unnecessarily theatrical, but it is one of the few episodes that can be objected to. Director Wesley Ruggles has smartly used every resource of his medium to make a picture so convincing in its treatment of a little publicized and exciting phase of U. S. expansion that it is valid historical document as well as a fine story.
*African travelers agree that most lions will run if you throw a stone at them.