Wow, does this film creak with age--as did most of the award-winning films of the late 1920s (such as Broadway MELODY OF 1926 and COQUETTE)! While it won the Best Actor Oscar for Warner Baxter, today it seems very antiquated and his performance seems very broad and, at times, silly. Now I can't blame this all on Baxter, as overacting was still rampant in talking films--and the studios demanded it. The subtleties and realism that would be standard in the 1930s just weren't seen in the early talkies. Baxter play the Cisco Kid was painful at times because the character seemed even less realistic than Charlie Chan!! However, I think most of the problem was the direction, as Baxter was able to credibly play Latinos, as his ROBIN HOOD OF EL DORADO (1936) was an exceptional performance--playing a guy much like the Cisco Kid. And, in THE PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND, Baxter was spectacular--showing he really was a capable actor.
Another problem with this odd award-winning film is that although it is an adventure film and has many outdoor scenes, most of the film is static and set indoors. There are just too many scenes filmed inside a studio and it shows. In particular, his scenes with his lady love dominate almost the entire second half of the film and really slow down the film to a crawl. It also didn't help that Dorothy Burgess (as 'Tonia Maria') was a terrible actress who way overplayed all her scenes--far more than Baxter did in the film.
There are a few things of interest in the film. Being a Pre-Code film, there is some cursing in the film that might surprise viewers. In addition, the way the film ends is really cool---and something they probably wouldn't have allowed in the post-Code world. The Kid just doesn't act as heroic as a post-1934 hero did!! See for yourself to find out what I mean.
So, if you want to see a better Cisco Kid film, see one of the later ones. I cannot find a copy of the 1931 CISCO KID (also starring Baxter) but have seen and enjoyed the Cesar Romero versions of the Cisco Kid and know that the films can be great fun. IN OLD ARIZONA, unfortunately, isn't all that much fun--it's more just a curio for film historians. Interesting but not all that good. It still gets a 7 because for this era, it's a good film--just don't compare it to films made just a year or two later, as the quality and production values improved tremendously in the interim.
By the way, the DVD has absolutely no extras whatsoever! I would have loved a featurette on the series--information on the Romero or Gilbert Roland or Duncan Ronaldo versions of the Cisco Kid.
In Old Arizona
In Old Arizona
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. —Shannon Patrick Sullivan
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
January 11, 2022 at 01:43 AM