Oklahoma Crude Film Details
Overview: In 1913, in Oklahoma, oil derrick owner Lena Doyle (Faye Dunaway), aided by her father (Sir John Mills) and a hobo (George C. Scott), is stubbornly drilling for oil despite the pressure from major oil companies to sell her land.
Tagline: An epic story of wooden derricks, iron men…and a defiant woman.
Review: I can remember when OKLAHOMA CRUDE was released. Being older that happens a lot these days. At the time actor George C. Scott was at his peak, having won the Oscar for best actor for PATTON just 3 years earlier and having a string of great roles in films like THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS, HOSPITAL and THE NEW CENTURIONS. Actress Faye Dunaway was about to rise again as a star having made several huge hits like BONNIE AND CLYDE and THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR before her career began to falter. The paring of the two here makes for an interesting film. Set in the early 1900s Dunaway stars as Lena Doyle, a stubborn and willful woman who owns a small piece of land that she’s determined has oil. A major oil company wants to buy the land from her but she refuses, determined to bring in the oil and the wealth attached to it on her own. As this is happening her father steps back into her life. Cleon Doyle (John Mills) was never there for her like a father should be but he’s changed his ways and wants to help. In addition to supporting her he brings along Noble Mason (Scott), a man he’s hired looking for works at the local hobo camp. The relationship between father and daughter begins rough and stays testy throughout the film. But Cleon is determined to make up for time past. As for Mason he’s a rough character and one not to tangle with but a smart one as well. He also possesses an honorable streak that lends itself to his first name. When the oil company sends in their hired security man Hellman (Jack Palance) to remove Lena from the land one way or another, Mason stays true to those who hired him and helps defend the rig she’s erected. Using nefarious means to get her to leave Hellman first attempts to sabotage her well. He tries to negotiate with Lena, threatening her in the process which prompts Mason to urinate on Hellman’s coat. This makes things personal and Hellman then brings in guns to shoot at her and those with her to stop her from drilling. When the son of the oil company owner tells him to back off and make her a reasonable offer for the land he bucks his boss. A final engagement is more than likely to happen as the strong willed trio of characters face off against one another repeatedly. As the possibility of oil coming in reaches its peak all bets are off. What amounts to a showdown is bound to happen. The film doesn’t just revolve around the drilling for oil though. It also offers a nice character study of those involved. First off we have Cleon who will do anything to redeem himself in his daughter’s eyes. Then we have Lena who has been disappointed so often by him that it will take some doing for him to achieve his goal. At the same time Lena must deal with the bitter feelings she has for most men and how Mason falls into that category easily. But could she find some feelings for him somewhere? And then there is Mason, a loner, a drifter, a man who’s seen hard times often and good times rarely. Will he find something more permanent here or is this just another stop along the path he travels. The movie has a slower pace than most will be comfortable with and a setting that’s rather bland. Wide open land with bumps and hills and oil rigs popping up here and there is not the most stirring visual. That leaves it up to the story to hold your interest and it does that admirably. But having the talents involved here in front of the camera as well as behind with the legendary Stanley Kramer directing the film results in a memorable movie not talked much about these days but well worth taking the time to watch.
Country: United States
Duration: 108 min
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Western
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