Sunday, July 11, 2010


Gertie: I peaked in your basket up at the house. I see you got gooseberry tarts, too. I wonder if they’s as light as mine. Mine’d like to float away if you blew on them.
Laurey: I just did blow on one of mine, and it broke into a million pieces!
Gertie: Ain’t she funny?
Aunt Eller: $50? Nobody ever bid $50 for a lunch. Nobody ever bid ten.
Andrew: What are you getting for your $51?
Ali: A three-day bellyache.

Although the movie’s action builds toward a “box social,” where picnic baskets are auctioned off in order to raise money for the new schoolhouse, the characters in Oklahoma! merely talk about what’s in those wonderful lunch baskets: cold duck with stuffing, lemon meringue pie, custard with raspberry syrup, mince pie, sweet potato pie, and, of course, wonderfully light gooseberry tarts. At the party, Andrew (Whitmore) convinces Ali (Albert) to bid $51 to win Ado Annie’s (Grahame) basket, but that means Will (Nelson) is left with enough cash to convince her father to let him be the groom. But the picnic lunch that Laurey (Jones) prepared brings in the top amount, $53 , as Curly (MacRae) and Jud (Steiger) vie for her favors. Even at today’s prices, that’s a lot of money for a lunch basket, but in Oklahoma Territory in the early 1900s, it represented a cowboy’s total worth, the value of Curly’s saddle, his horse, and his gun! He must really have liked gooseberry tarts.

Released 1955
Directed by Fred Zinnemann
Music by Richard Rodgers
Book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Screenplay by Sonya Levien and William Ludwig
Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs
Dances staged by Agnes de Mille

Starring Gordon MacRae as Curly McLain, Shirley Jones as Laurey Williams, Eddie Albert as Ali Hakim, Gloria Grahame as Ado Annie Carnes, Gene Nelson as Will Parker, Charlotte Greenwood as Aunt Eller Murphy, James Whitmore as Andrew Carnes, and Rod Steiger as Jud Fry

Awards: 1956 Academy Awards for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture, and Best Sound, Recording

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