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John Francis Dillon
Robert Emmett O'Connor
Army Sergeant Mickey Dunn sets out in pursuit of the Cisco Kid, a notorious if kind-hearted and charismatic bandit of the Old West. The Kid spends much of his loot on Tonia, the woman he loves, not realizing that she is being unfaithful to him in his absence. Soon, with her oblivious paramour off plying his trade, Tonia falls in with Dunn, drawn by the allure of a substantial reward for the Kid's capture -- dead or alive. Together, they concoct a plan to ambush and do away with the Cisco Kid once and for all. Written by
Shannon Patrick Sullivan <email@example.com>
In Old Arizona made for Fox Films in 1928 has the distinction of being the first all sound film and by dint of that the first all sound western. Warner Baxter won the second Academy Award given out for Best Actor and In Old Arizona bringing to the screen that legendary Robin Hood of the West, The Cisco Kid.
This version of Cisco is a whole lot different than the show I remember as a lad. Duncan Renaldo was a gentlemen, a caballero in the full meaning of the word, ever ready to help anyone in distress. He was a Latino version of Hopalong Cassidy and Cisco and Hoppy had a revival of popularity in the early television days.
But both of those characters were far from what Clarence Mulford and William Sydney Porter wrote. Hoppy was a tobacco chewing rather profane cuss who worked on the Bar 20 ranch, not the kid's role model William Boyd made him. Similarly the Cisco Kid was a charming fellow even for a bandit. But he was a most unapologetic man about his profession.
For this film Baxter's Cisco is cleaned up somewhat, still though he exacts a terrible, but quite just vengeance for betrayal, something Duncan Renaldo never would have done.
Today with political correctness, a man like Warner Baxter never would have been cast as the Cisco Kid, let alone win an Oscar for the role. But Baxter went on to do Cisco in four more films before folks like Cesar Romero, Gilbert Roland and Duncan Renaldo took the character over. There's a reason for this, Warner Baxter did a superb job in the part. Though his accent is obviously fake, he in no way demeans Latinos with his portrayal.
Dorothy Burgess is Cisco's best girl, I say best because she's far from the only one. She's a girl with big ambitions though and a bandit's moll even for a guy as handsome and charming as Warner Baxter has its limits.
Cisco's reeking so much havoc in that country on the American side of the Rio Grande that the army has gotten into the act. With war with Spain imminent, Sergeant Edmund Lowe's been given an order, get Cisco dead or alive.
Lowe essentially brings his Sergeant Quirt persona to the part of New York born sergeant Mickey Dunn. He's about an inch too sure of himself and he too thinks he's best with the ladies.
In Old Arizona also got nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and it goes without saying Best Sound. Though it's ancient now, a lot of people thought the sound of those ham and eggs cooking on the stove for Cisco in Burgess's cabin was considered revolutionary in 1928.
I recommend it highly especially for the ending. As another Latino icon was fond of saying, someone had a lot of explaining to do.
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