In Old Arizona - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

In Old Arizona Reviews

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June 8, 2018
In Old Arizona is pretty good in its western elements, it has a couple of very interesting plot points and the Cisco Kid is a memorable character for sure. He is so well acted by charismatic Warner Baxter in his Oscar-winning performance. But the movie concerns itself too much with romance instead of western and it's rather boring and melodramatic there leading to an unappealing middle section. It's thus an undeserved Best Picture nominee.
½ December 24, 2017
Warner Baxter won an Oscar for his portrayal of the Cisco Kid in Raoul Walsh's western, the first talkie shot on location; most of the film is creaky and slow by today's standards, and the portrayal of Mexicans in abhorrent.
½ April 17, 2017
omg - you really have to love the old talkies to make it through this one.
March 22, 2017
Some people would say you have to take into consideration when a film was made and the conditions at the time the film was made to effectively review it. Luckily, I don?t burden myself with all that, because I review films solely based on how they work for me when I watch them. As a result, I can say that I didn?t like In Old Arizona all that much. Sure, it was a landmark because it was one of the first feature films that used sound, but that didn?t impact my personal opinion. In fact, the newness of sound led this movie down some strange paths, as they added in moments that seemed completely out of left field until I realized they were experimenting with the sounds they could record. To me it was a bit like watching early 3-D films that would just insert shots of things poking out right at the camera in order to play with the new technology, except in this scenario it?s a random crying baby brought on screen or a pan of sizzling ham and eggs.

When you get past that aspect of the film, In Old Arizona is a decent story about a bandit with a heart of gold. I love that, even in this era well before the production code, they still felt a need to make the Cisco Kid a good guy. The nice thing about this movie is that it also makes the Sergeant sympathetic, even though he?s trying to catch our hero. This dynamic makes it so we don?t know how the end will play out and who will win. The actual conclusion of the film is pretty daring, and one that surprised me a little. It wasn?t enough to make me love the movie, but I appreciated that the story wasn?t totally predictable. Perhaps the most frustrating part of this movie (aside from the understandably bad sound quality) was that they didn?t quite have enough story to fill the runtime. There was a lot of moments where I felt the movie drag, and that?s probably why I noticed all the little sound experiments I mentioned earlier, because they were extending things when I just wanted to see what happened next. I can see film historians needing to watch In Old Arizona because of the progress it made, but for most people I?d say you can skip this one.
August 19, 2015
Apart from some poor acting, actually quite excellent. Narcissism. Pride. Deceit.
March 7, 2015
first talking western
½ March 4, 2015
Notable for being the first western with sound, and the first talkie filmed outdoors, but despite its originality it's boring and laughably acted (by today's standards, anyway).
½ December 7, 2014
Above the meandering plot, outrageous accents and stereotypical Latinas, Warner Baxter's Cisco Kid shines brilliantly in this daring little movie.
Super Reviewer
½ October 25, 2013
Lost in the annals of history is this early film that doesn't stretch the use of film making. The westerns that followed easily make this one forgettable.
February 27, 2012
In Old Arizona (1928)

This movie is the first full-length talky western and directors, Irving Cummings and Raoul Walsh did an excellent job showing the audience what new layers sound can add to a film. Ham & eggs sizzling in the pan, the clomping of the horse hooves, the music and singing, and of course people's accents were all new and wonderful then. Although Warner Baxter sounded more like Bela Lugosi than a Mexican.

This was only the second movie that introduced us to the Cisco Kid and was the closest adaptation to O. Henry's short story, The Caballero's Way. There was a silent version in 1914. In this movie, he was more of a lovable rogue than the Gentleman of the Old West that Duncan Renaldo portrayed on television and there is no Pancho (Leo Carrillo) side-kick either.

The Cisco Kid (Warner Baxter) is a thief and ruthless killer but holds a special soft spot for his girl, Tonia Maria (Dorothy Burgess) who, well, is kind of a gold-digging slut. The story opens with Cisco robbing a stage coach of it's gold box. He takes a locket from a passenger, but pays her in gold for it. The locket is given to Tonia in one of his visits.

The local Army is tired of this character running around their territory and the Commanding Officer assigns Sergeant Mickey Dunn to bring him in, dead or alive. Mickey is a New York player who is as charismatic as Cisco and maybe as good a shot. When Mickey finds that Tonia is Cisco's girl, they play right into each other's hands. Plus, the $5,000 reward is very appealing to Tonia. Cisco might have met his match this time.
January 20, 2012
Warner Baxter, in one of the first Best Actor winning performances (certainly one not well picked), is an outlaw on the run in the deserts of Arizona. He meets an array of individuals, many Mexicans and is taken in by their hospitality. He also steals from the wealthy people that travel through his territory and has a strange taste in women, to say the least. In current day Arizona, this film would be reviewed by critics as severely dated. In current day British Columbia, which is where I am from, it would be dismissed. Lame western is mainly screechy and annoying, and drags on and on. Westerns like "Red River" and "The Searchers" exceed two hours and are heck of a lot better than this and also much faster to get through. Very boring!
November 1, 2011
Best Picture Project 1928/1929 (Nominee): Yeah. I knew I'd see a bad one eventually. And this one is pretty bad. In Old Arizona is the kind of movie that would get laughed at if it was released 10 years later. The performances are over the top hammy (even if Warner Baxter is a charming lead despite his offensive Mexican portrayal), the scenery is bland, and the story sits around making the film feel like it's a full 2 hour movie despite being only an hour and 35 minutes.

I'm guessing this can be attributed to the fact this production was mainly based around the fact it was the first "talkie" western. And boy do they talk. In fact, they talk just for talking's sake. Sometimes they sing, but they mostly talk. It's all just to show off the 1 track audio, which sounds terrible for today, as the audio is so low I had to set my home theater to full blast just to hear them. The film was nominated for cinematography, but there's only one or two scenes that are filmed decently. The film is filled with jump cuts that are bad by any days standards, and characterizations are constantly switching.

The film is a curiosity though. It's a lot more provocative than most Hollywood productions of the time, but that doesn't make it worth it.
½ September 6, 2011
An intriguing story really that could have been portrayed so much better on screen. The film tries to go for too much humor without letting it come naturally (or maybe the actors just don't pull it off well). An interesting character piece focusing on three main characters: the Cisco Kid, Sgt. Mickey Dunne, and Tonia Maria. The development and interaction between the three is the best the movie has to offer and the end is classic but the film as a whole is a bit bland and boring mostly. A story with great potential that could be an superb film but just doesn't measure up in this early talkie.
July 26, 2011
Known as completely lifeless and dry.
June 6, 2011
Considering it's age, you expect it to be a bit creaky. That said, there is some brilliance to be found in the directing and cinematography. The real surprise is that this is not a rollicking adventure film, but a evil woman picture that was so common in the pre-code days.
October 7, 2010
There is a difference between creating sharp comedy and administering inconsiderate jokes at others' expense. The latter seems to be the case for the creators of ‚??In Old Arizona,‚?? which supplies a long list of misogynistic and sadistic undertones ‚?? and some not so concealed connotations at that. The film is shamelessly politically incorrect by depicting a love triangle linking a soldier, bandit, and gold digger seen in the form of a plotting Mexican woman. Typically, it would not be difficult to guess who the antagonist of this situation is, but ‚?? when not electing all three as candidates ‚?? here it is the woman who appears to have a heart cold as ice. Along with her ruthless motivation, the plot fails to make anything quite clear, provide any logical explanations, or create relatable characters. Furthermore, the production, although technically surprising at times, feels rushed and disregarded from camera composition to sound recording. As such, the story does come to the forefront, yet there is little of such to be had as previously mentioned. Usual exceptions, when considering the year of production, do not apply here as ‚??Arizona‚?? is, simply, too mean-spirited in content to be abdicated of its sins.
October 4, 2010
As far as sheer entertainment is concerned, this early Raoul Walsh picture gives most films from the period a run for their money. It's downright hysterical- and most of the time we're allowed to laugh with the movie, showing that none of the film's humor has been lost over the eighty-some years of its existence. Every one of these characters are entirely unsympathetic, but it's hard not to root for the film's boisterous anti-hero, a rendering of the Cisco Kid which won Warner Baxter an Academy Award, who goes through with what is perhaps the most deserved comeuppance in cinematic history. If nothing else, one cannot accuse the film of prudishness- it fires on all cylinders, and to hell with morality!
½ February 5, 2010
Not too bad of an early western, but still has that 20's movie feel that turns me off.
½ January 30, 2010
Only watched this for its historical importance as the first western talkie. Actually turned out to be pretty good. The characters were quirky, amusing and hammy to just the right degree. The Cisco kid was a modern day robin hood with an accent that must have taken almost seconds to master. The script writers were unrestrained and packed their work with quality one liners.
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