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William K. Howard
Johnny Mack Brown
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director Raoul Walsh, who was to star as The Cisco Kid, lost an eye in an accident shortly before filming. Buddy Roosevelt was then cast in the role, but he broke his leg shortly before the picture was to start again. He was replaced by Warner Baxter, who managed to stay in one piece and won an Academy Award. See more »
When Cisco robs the stagecoach, he is wearing an army holster (flap-over), the same type the Sargeant wears. But for the rest of the movie, he wears an open holster. See more »
More of a morality play rather than a western -but not all moral
I have heard so much about In Old Arizona that I truly was anticipating a genuine 'western' experience since this was a Fox film . I know the production values and story lines in their silents were always entertaining . I kept waiting for a western but it never came .
One has to be able to be able to imagine the newness of sound to comprehend the audience reaction to this film at its release . The frying bacon scene has been recounted in several different publications . The newness of sound was evident throughout the picture with songs , continual dialogue (sometimes very inane ) , sound effects ,etc. The film tried to overload the senses of the viewers with sound that seemed to come in waves to awe the viewers.
The direction receiving an Academy nomination escapes me completely . It appeared the director knew it was sound , but used tried and true 'silent ' techniques . The constant smiling , grinning and bon vivant attitude of Baxter was reminiscent of second tier silent western stars ala Buddy Roosevely , Wally Wales ,Bill Cody , Bob Custer et al. They all used this carefree , devil-may care attitude constantly .
Probably the most noticeable 'throwback ' methods were the exchange between Baxter and Burgess at the end . Both had a double meaning for their phrases which could have translated into a very delightful scene . However both of them resorted to 'silent' facial expressions that let the audience in on the meaning , but not the other character . Cummings showed his lack of knowledge and faith in sound as well as subtlety in expressions , but it understandable given his background and the newness of sound.
Baxter handled himself very well , yet you wonder if the Oscar was for the sound element tied to his performance rather than the strength of his acting alone . He always did a creditable job in any picture . Burgess is another story . Her attempt to portray herself as a Hispanic vamp left a lot to be desired . Still you cannot help but see the definite ' borrowing ' for Pearl Chavez in Duel in the Sun . There is no mistaking the copy that Jones used .
Finally , the O. Henry ending for the film was a little different . You reap what you sow is very prevalent in Edmund Lowe and Burgess . They sowed deceit and reaped their just desserts . However , Baxter just goes on his outlaw ways with no consequences . He admits it will come one day for him, but we don't see it . So there is morality and amorality . Where there is no dialogue , I was fascinated how some outdoor scenes took on a John Ford Monument Valley look .
The scene where Burgess goes into the saloon to meet Lowe is priceless . She walks in and she and a customer start exchanging ' let's do business ' glances . Then she meets Lowe and begins to condemn the women who work there and castigates Lowe for comparing her to them . Her self-righteous air is her best piece of acting in the entire movie.
You knew this was precode with some of the dialogue . When Baxter tells Lowe he is known as " Conejito " , Lowe 's line asking ' is he that fast' is priceless . The allusions abound .
Still this is well worth the time to view . First for the historical as to the use of sound . Then there is the introduction of the Cisco Kid . You have to have this film to trace the evolution of the character in film . When Baxter was talking about Yaqui being his best friend , you almost expected a pan to Pancho based upon preconditioning to the pair .
The morality and the love triangle dominate this film . There is no issue to be resolved as none ever existed . You have a story of 3 people - interesting , but slow moving and slower developing . Glad I own it and watched it
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