Oklahoma Crude


1h 48m 1973
Oklahoma Crude

Brief Synopsis

With the help of a hired hand, a woman fights off a conglomerate out to steal her oil well.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adventure
Release Date
1973

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 48m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Lena Doyle is determined to drill for oil on her small piece of Oklahoma land and hires drifter Noble "Mase" Mason to work on the derrick. When Lena refuses to sell her place to a large oil company, the company send goons over who attack her and Mase. Now driven off her land, Lena and Mase join forces with her estranged father and take it back by force. Then just before the goons return, they strike oil.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adventure
Release Date
1973

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 48m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Oklahoma Crude -


In 1973, just before a run of big hits that included The Three Musketeers (1973), Chinatown (1974) and Three Days of the Condor (1975), Faye Dunaway starred in one of her least-remembered pictures: Oklahoma Crude (1973). Marc Norman's screenplay was set in 1913 Oklahoma and centered on a woman, Lena, who is wildcatting an oil rig -- operating it independently in an area not known to contain oil. She gets into a battle with a big oil company, whose representative (Jack Palance) seems ready to stop at nothing to take her land. Though strong and self-reliant, Dunaway turns for help from her alcoholic father (John Mills) and a drifter who becomes a hired hand and lover (George C. Scott).

There are some 1970s feminist undertones to the film, much examined at the time, but in truth Oklahoma Crude, while produced and directed by the socially conscious Stanley Kramer, has more in common with movies like Boom Town (1940), with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, or The African Queen (1951), with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. As critic Roger Ebert wrote in his review, "The buried plot is always the same: Beautiful woman and uncultured man find themselves thrown together in a colorful enterprise. They have nothing in common except the enterprise, they think, but gradually their co-operation breeds respect, affection and finally love.... This seems like a perfectly satisfactory scenario to me and has inspired some of the most interesting male-female relationships in movies."

If anything, the social theme this film is most concerned about is the individual vs. the corporation. From Dunaway's perspective, Oklahoma Crude was really about "a woman who is caught between her ambition and her femininity," someone who must, in the course of the story, open up emotionally to the psychologically distant male characters in order to win her fight. "I understood that dilemma well," Dunaway later wrote, "the conflict between ambition and love, the fear of trusting someone else with your love."

Dunaway also saw parallels between her character's journey and her own real-life career trajectory: "Lena was tough, an ambitious woman who was not going to bow to the male establishment. Very real this woman was, and that's the direction I wanted to head my career in. I had come to a time in my life when I wanted to reconnect with my roots. I wanted to strip away the veneer of glamour that had attached itself to me and remind everyone that there was more to me and my talent than the slick, sophisticated, urban woman roles I seemed to be offered more and more."

Stanley Kramer scouted locations all over Oklahoma and nearby areas, but couldn't find appropriate-looking landscapes that weren't marred by electrical wires or telephone lines. So he ended up shooting near Stockton, California, on a 5000-acre sheep farm that very much resembled turn-of-the-century Oklahoma. Still, crews worked to build roads, move fences, and build structures, including 26 wooden oil derricks to scale. In fact, while the crew spent thirty weeks on location, just ten weeks were for actual filming -- with ten of those days for the single climactic sequence that required 50,000 gallons of (fake) oil to burst out of the rig. A month was required after shooting for the farm to be restored to its original condition.

Weather was a constant problem. Local weather records were broken as the company endured extreme heat (as high as 110 degrees), below-freezing cold, fog and rain. On the cold days, the actors sometimes had ice cubes in their mouths so that there wouldn't be visible steam when they spoke. "The cast really suffered," Kramer said, "and they were all splendid about it."

Kramer and Dunaway were blown away by the abilities of George C. Scott, who married the actress Trish Van Devere just four days before production began. Kramer said, "I never thought I would have the opportunity to work again with as great an actor as Spencer Tracy. But then I met George C. Scott... He has the same skills and genius Spence had: an ability to say more with an expression than with a page-long speech. They're the kind of actors who react better than most actors act."

Dunaway recalled, "It was as if he came to the set each day with his part in a briefcase. To conjure up the character, all he had to do was pop open the case, pull out the part, act the scene, then pack it all away again at the end of the day. It was just there. Never a false move."

Critics were mixed to negative, with The New York Times deeming it simply "a brawling adventure film," and The Hollywood Reporter calling it "confused... In trying to cover all bases, none is touched firmly." But Dunaway's performance was roundly praised, and probably the biggest pleasure of the film today is in seeing four marvelous actors (Dunaway, Scott, Mills and Palance) turn in very strong pieces of acting.

Oklahoma Crude was a notable hit in the Soviet Union, where it resonated as an attack on capitalism and won an award at the 1973 Moscow International Film Festival.

The train used on screen was the exact same train seen in High Noon (1952) -- an earlier Stanley Kramer production.

By Jeremy Arnold

SOURCES:
Faye Dunaway with Betsy Sharkey, Looking For Gatsby: My Life
David Sheward, Rage and Glory: The Volatile Life and Career of George C. Scott
Donald Spoto, Stanley Kramer: Film Maker
Oklahoma Crude -

Oklahoma Crude -

In 1973, just before a run of big hits that included The Three Musketeers (1973), Chinatown (1974) and Three Days of the Condor (1975), Faye Dunaway starred in one of her least-remembered pictures: Oklahoma Crude (1973). Marc Norman's screenplay was set in 1913 Oklahoma and centered on a woman, Lena, who is wildcatting an oil rig -- operating it independently in an area not known to contain oil. She gets into a battle with a big oil company, whose representative (Jack Palance) seems ready to stop at nothing to take her land. Though strong and self-reliant, Dunaway turns for help from her alcoholic father (John Mills) and a drifter who becomes a hired hand and lover (George C. Scott). There are some 1970s feminist undertones to the film, much examined at the time, but in truth Oklahoma Crude, while produced and directed by the socially conscious Stanley Kramer, has more in common with movies like Boom Town (1940), with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, or The African Queen (1951), with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. As critic Roger Ebert wrote in his review, "The buried plot is always the same: Beautiful woman and uncultured man find themselves thrown together in a colorful enterprise. They have nothing in common except the enterprise, they think, but gradually their co-operation breeds respect, affection and finally love.... This seems like a perfectly satisfactory scenario to me and has inspired some of the most interesting male-female relationships in movies." If anything, the social theme this film is most concerned about is the individual vs. the corporation. From Dunaway's perspective, Oklahoma Crude was really about "a woman who is caught between her ambition and her femininity," someone who must, in the course of the story, open up emotionally to the psychologically distant male characters in order to win her fight. "I understood that dilemma well," Dunaway later wrote, "the conflict between ambition and love, the fear of trusting someone else with your love." Dunaway also saw parallels between her character's journey and her own real-life career trajectory: "Lena was tough, an ambitious woman who was not going to bow to the male establishment. Very real this woman was, and that's the direction I wanted to head my career in. I had come to a time in my life when I wanted to reconnect with my roots. I wanted to strip away the veneer of glamour that had attached itself to me and remind everyone that there was more to me and my talent than the slick, sophisticated, urban woman roles I seemed to be offered more and more." Stanley Kramer scouted locations all over Oklahoma and nearby areas, but couldn't find appropriate-looking landscapes that weren't marred by electrical wires or telephone lines. So he ended up shooting near Stockton, California, on a 5000-acre sheep farm that very much resembled turn-of-the-century Oklahoma. Still, crews worked to build roads, move fences, and build structures, including 26 wooden oil derricks to scale. In fact, while the crew spent thirty weeks on location, just ten weeks were for actual filming -- with ten of those days for the single climactic sequence that required 50,000 gallons of (fake) oil to burst out of the rig. A month was required after shooting for the farm to be restored to its original condition. Weather was a constant problem. Local weather records were broken as the company endured extreme heat (as high as 110 degrees), below-freezing cold, fog and rain. On the cold days, the actors sometimes had ice cubes in their mouths so that there wouldn't be visible steam when they spoke. "The cast really suffered," Kramer said, "and they were all splendid about it." Kramer and Dunaway were blown away by the abilities of George C. Scott, who married the actress Trish Van Devere just four days before production began. Kramer said, "I never thought I would have the opportunity to work again with as great an actor as Spencer Tracy. But then I met George C. Scott... He has the same skills and genius Spence had: an ability to say more with an expression than with a page-long speech. They're the kind of actors who react better than most actors act." Dunaway recalled, "It was as if he came to the set each day with his part in a briefcase. To conjure up the character, all he had to do was pop open the case, pull out the part, act the scene, then pack it all away again at the end of the day. It was just there. Never a false move." Critics were mixed to negative, with The New York Times deeming it simply "a brawling adventure film," and The Hollywood Reporter calling it "confused... In trying to cover all bases, none is touched firmly." But Dunaway's performance was roundly praised, and probably the biggest pleasure of the film today is in seeing four marvelous actors (Dunaway, Scott, Mills and Palance) turn in very strong pieces of acting. Oklahoma Crude was a notable hit in the Soviet Union, where it resonated as an attack on capitalism and won an award at the 1973 Moscow International Film Festival. The train used on screen was the exact same train seen in High Noon (1952) -- an earlier Stanley Kramer production. By Jeremy Arnold SOURCES: Faye Dunaway with Betsy Sharkey, Looking For Gatsby: My Life David Sheward, Rage and Glory: The Volatile Life and Career of George C. Scott Donald Spoto, Stanley Kramer: Film Maker

TCM Remembers - Stanley Kramer


In High Noon (1952), a sheriff stands alone as the clock ticks down toward a deadly showdown. A World War II veteran is forced to come to terms with his paralyzed body in The Men (1950). On the front lines of battle, an African American soldier is hounded by racist comrades in the groundbreaking drama, Home of the Brave (1949).

With these films, Stanley Kramer built his reputation as a producer of important films. He made movies with a conscience, movies with a message. Although his films were sometimes criticized as being too simplistic in dealing with tough subjects, Kramer still deserves a great deal of credit for tackling sensitive subject matter no other director or studio wanted to address. His exploration of timely social issues is what makes his cinema unique and his recent passing leaves us with no one to fill his shoes.

Kramer learned his craft within Hollywood's studio system. He began as a production assistant on So Ends Our Night(1941) and was soon writing and editing. By the late forties, Kramer broke away from the studio hierarchy and formed an independent production company. Outside of the Hollywood system, he could tackle social issues head-on while producing well-crafted and meaningful dramas. In The New York Times obituary for Kramer, the director was quoted in accessing his own career and it's most appropriate here: "I decided that somewhere between the films on outer space and Sylvester Stallone, there is a place for me. I was always associated with films that had an opinion. I don't believe films change anyone's mind, but I was spawned during the Roosevelt era, a time of great change, and I still believe in trying to get people to think."

For his directorial debut, Not As A Stranger (1955), Kramer signed up the all-star cast of Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra, Olivia de Havilland and Gloria Grahame to reveal the trials and tribulations of doctors and nurses balancing medical school with their personal relationships. In The Defiant Ones (1958) shackled Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier together as escaped convicts. As they flee the law they're forced to confront each other's racism and ultimately discover that beneath their skin color, they are not so different. On the Beach (1959) was Kramer's anti-atom bomb polemic in which Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Anthony Perkins and Fred Astaire survive an initial nuclear holocaust only to face a slow, painful death from fallout.

From the arms race to Biblical scripture, the following year Kramer turned his attention to the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925 in Inherit the Wind(1960). This famous courtroom trial was a true-life clash of the titans as Fredric March and Spencer Tracy face off on the issue of Evolution versus Creationism. Although names are changed, March gave a grandstanding performance as William Jennings Bryan, the mouthpiece for conservatism, while Tracy played Clarence Darrow, a tireless fighter for progressive thought.

Kramer's films were more than just entertainment; his stories were political platforms for the Civil Rights Movement, disarmament and liberal thinking. For audiences who thought the director couldn't take on an issue greater than the Scopes Monkey Trial, Kramer's next film would prove to be even more controversial. Again, Kramer booked a cast of Hollywood's hottest names to bring mass appeal to his very serious film.

In Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) Spencer Tracy presides over a German war-criminal trial which delves into the atrocities of the Nazi regime. Burt Lancaster sits smugly on the stand as Ernst Janning, an unrepentant officer of the Gestapo, as Maximilian Schell mounts his defense. Montgomery Clift, as a Jew subjected to a sterilization experiment, nervously submits his testimony. Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich each take the stand. Hollywood's greatest stars came out to shed light on one of the darkest moments of the 20th century. The Academy responded with 11 nominations, including for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Tracy), Supporting Actor (Clift), Supporting Actress (Garland), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography and Editing. Schell won Best Actor for his dynamic performance as Herr Rolfe.

However, Stanley Kramer wasn't "Mr. Message Film" all the time. In a lighter moment, he produced the surrealist anti-fascist fantasy, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T(1953) in which he enlisted the talents of Dr. Seuss. More famously, he pooled the greatest comics together for an insane Cinerama screwball farce - It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963).

By Jeremy Geltzer & Jeff Stafford

TCM Remembers - Stanley Kramer

In High Noon (1952), a sheriff stands alone as the clock ticks down toward a deadly showdown. A World War II veteran is forced to come to terms with his paralyzed body in The Men (1950). On the front lines of battle, an African American soldier is hounded by racist comrades in the groundbreaking drama, Home of the Brave (1949). With these films, Stanley Kramer built his reputation as a producer of important films. He made movies with a conscience, movies with a message. Although his films were sometimes criticized as being too simplistic in dealing with tough subjects, Kramer still deserves a great deal of credit for tackling sensitive subject matter no other director or studio wanted to address. His exploration of timely social issues is what makes his cinema unique and his recent passing leaves us with no one to fill his shoes. Kramer learned his craft within Hollywood's studio system. He began as a production assistant on So Ends Our Night(1941) and was soon writing and editing. By the late forties, Kramer broke away from the studio hierarchy and formed an independent production company. Outside of the Hollywood system, he could tackle social issues head-on while producing well-crafted and meaningful dramas. In The New York Times obituary for Kramer, the director was quoted in accessing his own career and it's most appropriate here: "I decided that somewhere between the films on outer space and Sylvester Stallone, there is a place for me. I was always associated with films that had an opinion. I don't believe films change anyone's mind, but I was spawned during the Roosevelt era, a time of great change, and I still believe in trying to get people to think." For his directorial debut, Not As A Stranger (1955), Kramer signed up the all-star cast of Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra, Olivia de Havilland and Gloria Grahame to reveal the trials and tribulations of doctors and nurses balancing medical school with their personal relationships. In The Defiant Ones (1958) shackled Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier together as escaped convicts. As they flee the law they're forced to confront each other's racism and ultimately discover that beneath their skin color, they are not so different. On the Beach (1959) was Kramer's anti-atom bomb polemic in which Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Anthony Perkins and Fred Astaire survive an initial nuclear holocaust only to face a slow, painful death from fallout. From the arms race to Biblical scripture, the following year Kramer turned his attention to the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925 in Inherit the Wind(1960). This famous courtroom trial was a true-life clash of the titans as Fredric March and Spencer Tracy face off on the issue of Evolution versus Creationism. Although names are changed, March gave a grandstanding performance as William Jennings Bryan, the mouthpiece for conservatism, while Tracy played Clarence Darrow, a tireless fighter for progressive thought. Kramer's films were more than just entertainment; his stories were political platforms for the Civil Rights Movement, disarmament and liberal thinking. For audiences who thought the director couldn't take on an issue greater than the Scopes Monkey Trial, Kramer's next film would prove to be even more controversial. Again, Kramer booked a cast of Hollywood's hottest names to bring mass appeal to his very serious film. In Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) Spencer Tracy presides over a German war-criminal trial which delves into the atrocities of the Nazi regime. Burt Lancaster sits smugly on the stand as Ernst Janning, an unrepentant officer of the Gestapo, as Maximilian Schell mounts his defense. Montgomery Clift, as a Jew subjected to a sterilization experiment, nervously submits his testimony. Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich each take the stand. Hollywood's greatest stars came out to shed light on one of the darkest moments of the 20th century. The Academy responded with 11 nominations, including for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Tracy), Supporting Actor (Clift), Supporting Actress (Garland), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography and Editing. Schell won Best Actor for his dynamic performance as Herr Rolfe. However, Stanley Kramer wasn't "Mr. Message Film" all the time. In a lighter moment, he produced the surrealist anti-fascist fantasy, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T(1953) in which he enlisted the talents of Dr. Seuss. More famously, he pooled the greatest comics together for an insane Cinerama screwball farce - It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). By Jeremy Geltzer & Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1973

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1973