Master swindler James Reavis devotes years to forging documents that will give him claim to the entire state of Arizona. He finds a young girl whom he believes is an orphan and hires a governess to educate her in the manner of the Spanish aristocracy. He invents deceased parents for her whose ancestry can be traced to a mythical Spanish nobleman. He then insinuates himself into a Spanish monastery for three years so he can access its biblioteca which carries the records of Spanish land grants. He later joins a gypsy band to have access to the library of a Spanish noblemen where he can alter duplicate documents. When everything is in place, he marries the now-grown young woman and puts in his claim as her husband as the Baron of Arizona.Written by
Gabe Taverney (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 »
Great performance from Price carries a pretty good film
Vincent Price, who I'm a fan of, and the interesting story The Baron of Arizona is based on were the main draws into watching. And while it is a case of the lead performance being better than the film, it is still pretty good and worth watching.
Some of the last act is not as good as the rest of the film, The Baron of Arizona does get draggy here and the writing goes rather soft and sentimentalised. The love scenes are clunkily written with more of a sense of unease than affection, Tina Pine's agreed faring worst. There are a couple(big emphasis on couple) of parts where the editing's sloppy, particularly in the otherwise quite suspenseful climax, and one does wish that there was more of Beulah Bondi, a great character actress whose talents are not put to full use due to little screen time.
The Baron of Arizona is a good-looking film though, mostly well photographed and the sets are handsome, while the score is rousing and Sam Fuller's direction is wisely straightforward and always dependable. The film is well scripted in at least two thirds of the film, with a lot of detail without being too bogged down in it. The story is briskly paced and every bit as intriguing as the true story, with a number of scenes having genuine energy and tension. All the performances are solid enough but only one is great and that's from Vincent Price. It's not his best performance by all means but it was great to see him so subtle while always commanding, his character change coming across believably and movingly.
In conclusion, a pretty good film carried by a great lead performance. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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