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The U.S. government recognizes land grants made when the West was under Spanish rule. This inspires James Reavis to forge a chain of historical evidence that makes a foundling girl the Baroness of Arizona. Reavis marries the girl and presses his claim to the entire Arizona territory.Written by
Erik Gregersen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
James Addison Reavis (1843-1914) was a real person who, as depicted in the movie, was found guilty of attempting to steal most of Arizona by forging land grant documents. He paid a fine of $5,000 and served two years in jail. See more »
Judging from the title, probably more than a few ticket-buyers in 1950 expected a western. What they got instead was a real oddity that defies classification. It's sort of like a western, but instead of the bad guy grabbing off a ranch, this baddie (Price) wants to grab an entire state, Arizona. And he's not doing it with a gun or a gang. Instead he's doing it with years of legal fabrication and planning. Those early scenes showing him falsifying the legal groundwork are the movie's most interesting and unusual.
Despite the many novel moments, the movie's no triumph—Sam Fuller or no Sam Fuller. Lippert was a real cheapjack production company, and it shows, particularly in the skimpy sets and LA area locations. Then too, Fuller wobbles when helming love scenes (not his strength), especially with the really inept Gypsy girl (Pine) that's almost painful to watch. On the other hand, there's the lordly Vincent Price, perfectly cast in the domineering lead role. His verbal fencing with the government man (Hadley) is particularly well acted. Then there're the lynch mob scenes that are both intense and scary. Fuller is clearly at home with crowds and violence.
All in all, it's an interesting and different kind of movie, whatever its drawbacks, marking Fuller as a movie-maker to watch.
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