In Old Arizona Blu-ray Review
“In Old Arizona” is a flawed, but interesting historical curiosity for film buffs.
“In Old Arizona” is a B&W 1928 western about a bandit (The Cisco Kid) who is wanted dead or alive by the Cavalry. There’s also a major subplot involving a duplicitous woman (Maria) that The Cisco Kid has a crush on.
“In Old Arizona” (which was somehow nominated for Best Picture and other major categories) is light on plot and action, but it is notable for being an early talkie. Given this fact, it’s quite apparent that it is an early talkie as the filmmakers try to use sound as much as humanly possible. Expect to hear LOTS of singing, a Donkey, rambling filler conversations, cowbell (if you need more cowbell), mumbling, and so on. Alas, given the limitations back then, the quality is not the best, but it deserves respect for being a pioneering film.
Even though the film doesn’t hold up, there are admirable aspects. Wayne Baxter (who won the Oscar for his performance) does a fine job of carrying the film. Without him, I doubt it would be watchable today. The lush cinematography by Arthur Edeson and Alfred Hansen also deserves praise here. It’s a picturesque western for the time.
Presentation: 1.20:1 1080p. How does it look? The print is rough shape due to the scratches, lines, and jumpy frames, but the images are definitely more distinct and clear than they have ever been
Audio Track: 1.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The flat and clunky audio is much more apparent with this track but it still deserves some leeway for being an early talkie.
Overall Thoughts: While slow and in dire need of editing, “In Old Arizona” is an important film. It’s nice to see Fox releasing a classic like this as it should be preserved.
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