In Old Arizona (1929) - Raoul Walsh & Irving Cummings
Well can't say the expectations were very high for this film, so it didn't really disappoint. The film is more notorious for the backstory that cost Raoul Walsh his eye, as well as the role of Sgt. Mickey Dunn. In fact the film effectively ended Walsh's acting career, so much so that many filmgoers have no idea that he actually was a leading man. The role of Dunn wouldn't have been much different from Walsh's role in the earlier Sadie Thompson, that of a womanizing military man. Ironically in both films the female lead appeared to be the only salvagable female in the area.
That female is the awkward looking and bad acting Dorothy Burgess. Not surprising her acting career didn't amount to much afterwards. Her bad accent was enough to put me off on her performance. Plus perhaps I can owe it to a change in standards of beauty, but I couldn't see this woman as a tantalizing femme fatale, but as I mentioned before she's basically the only game in town. So if we look at the situation like that, think of how many girls you've met who initially weren't that attractive, but as time went on became finer and finer just because there weren't any others around. Still that wouldn't explain the fact that the newcommers in town still fall for her, but they're military men, there standards are obviously lower.
Warner Baxter won an Oscar for his work as the Cisco Kid, and Jesus Christ he didn't deserve it. Granted few of the other nominees are even known today, and honest enough I haven't seen any of them. Baxter's accent is so poor I couldn't tell if he was supposed to be Mexican, Italian, or Portugese. I also don't think either lead had enough charisma to effectively pull off this role, both leads were too old and too fat and too ugly to be believable. The Cisco Kid shouldn't be a middle aged man, but what do I know.
So the casting sucked, the acting sucked, the pacing sucked, and the structure sucked. What was good? The anti-feminist attitude. Old Hollywood films have an enormous potential to be politically incorrect, and this one certainly fits the bill. In addition to the ethnic stereotypes, there is also a decidedly anti-feminist sentiment. The female is a pure gold digger, and don't mind me giving anything away the criminal, who doubles as a hero, gets away, far cry from the "sinners get punished" filmmaking of the Hayes office. That alone made the film ineteresting. I know I've given the picture way too much attention, considering it was a very forgettable film.