Saturday, February 24, 2018

Movie Review: "In Old Arizona" (1928)

Image Source
Year Nominated: 1930
Director: Irving Cummings
Rating: Passed
Oscar Nominations: 5
Oscar Wins: 1
Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

A wanted outlaw named The Cisco Kid romances the woman he loves while avoiding the man tasked with killing him.

"In Old Arizona" was nominated for five Oscars. It was tied with "The Patriot" for the most nominations at the second annual Academy Awards ceremony. Keep in mind, this was at a time when there was only seven categories total, so five nominations was most likely a huge deal. The movie is directed by Irving Cumming and Raul Walsh and is written by Tom Berry. It stars Warner Baxter as The Cisco Kid, a charming outlaw who appears to be more interested in romance than anything else. His love is for one woman, Tonia Maria (Dorthy Burgess), who he thinks is a loyal lover but isn't as faithful as he believes. Also in the film is Edmund Lowe as Sergeant Mickey Dunn, the man tasked with hunting down The Cisco Kid. Dunn also views himself as somewhat of a lady's man. The Cisco Kid thinks he has it all figured out, but when he asks Tonia to send a message to Dunn for him, she shows her true colors, which may put The Cisco Kid in danger.

Some movies just don't age well. "In Old Arizona" is certainly one of them. There are some people in the cinephile community that go absolutely bonkers if anyone dares insult the original films that set the stage for what we know and love as present-day Hollywood. We are not those people and have no problem giving our honest opinion on this film. We have to wonder how this got nominated for so many Oscars, and then have to tell ourselves, "it was the late 1920's, "talkies" were a new thing, and well, not much was going on in 1928 to facilitate a super interesting story." "In Old Arizona" is actually the first western film to use sound, and it is the first talkie to be shot outdoors. We have to imagine much of its accolades and attention arose out of the technical achievements for its time.

The best thing about this movie is easily Warner Baxter, who can be both funny and charming in his role. He took home the Academy Award for best actor that year, which was the only Oscar this movie would actually win. Edmund Lee and Dorthy Burgess are fine in this film, but you can tell they got their start in silent films. It is especially noticeable with Burgess, whose every physical motion and expression is overly exaggerated, a common practice in silent movies. Where this film really suffers is in its story. It starts out as a manhunt for The Cisco Kid, but the most Sergeant Dunn does to find him is sit in a bar and twiddle his thumbs hoping Cisco will show up. What this movie winds up being is a romantic love triangle about infidelity, jealousy, and revenge. Still, there is no tension and little excitement. Nothing interesting happens until the last few minutes of the film. We guess some may try to call it a slow burn, but we would simply call it boring. Not every classic film needs to be seen, even if it is as technologically groundbreaking as "In Old Arizona" was in 1928. The time it would take to pay attention to this movie just isn't worth wasting.

My Rating: 3/10
BigJ's Rating: 3/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 56%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

Please be sure to check out Lolo Loves Films all over the internet!

No comments:

Post a Comment