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Arizona (1931)
Topic Started: Aug 13 2017, 08:33 PM (210 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Arizona (1931) Dir. George B. Seitz

A Columbia Picture
66 min. / B&W / 1.33:1
On DVD as part of the Columbia Pictures Pre-Code Collection (TCM/Sony)

One would assume a John Wayne picture called Arizona to be a western; one would assume incorrectly. Instead, what we have here is Wayne as a fresh West Point grad (the picture is plumped up with some sequences of a vintage Army-Navy football game) who dumps long-time girlfriend Laura La Plante, who marries his best friend to spite him. When the Duke then falls for La Plante's sister, lovely Laura cries rape to keep him out of the family.

An okay movie, though on my first run-though I decided it was the weakest in the set. Even at this stage in his career (just after his starring-role-debut flop The Big Trail and 8 years before his breakthrough in Stagecoach) Wayne dominated the screen as few actors could, and he's excellent, actually. Miss La Plante does nothing for me, and looks about ten years older than she was. (She apparently seems to be some sort of "college widow".) June Clyde is much more appealing as the sister.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Wayne: "Obviously he's in love with you. Everything he says and does demonstrates that."
Laura: "Well, there's no accounting for taste."

A straight programmer with some good unintentional laughs (during the football game, we're told that kicking the extra point is "a pretty tough assignment!"); a nice print from Columbia, with posters and lobby cards shown as the only extras.

"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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Bert Greene
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In silents, I find Laura La Plante totally adorable. But in talkies, I'm afraid she goes down a notch for me, as they revealed a touch of whineyness in her voice/delivery. Maybe even a bit of scatterbrain too. Eh, but even then, I still sort of like her. Ditto Marian Nixon, who sometimes fell into the same pattern. Haven't seen "Arizona" in about twenty years, but I recall it didn't do much for me.
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