US, 1941, 125 minutes, Black and white.
Jean Arthur, William Holden, Warren William, Porter Hall, Regis Toomey, Edgar Buchanan.
Directed by Wesley Ruggles.
Arizona is a big, sprawling, ambitious western. Enjoyable in its presentation of the history of the state, its western plot, it was not as successful when released as hoped for. It was directed by Wesley Ruggles, a director more familiar with comedy and comedies of manners.
Jean Arthur once again gives a spirited interpretation as the heroine. A very young William Holden is the hero. There is good support from the sinister Warren William, and from Edgar Buchanan.
The film has the familiar ingredients of the westerns and the stories ophite opening up of the West. There is a stirring score by Victor Young.
1. An entertaining and enjoyable western? Its picture of the opening up of the West? The history of Arizona? establishing of the cities? Indians? Cattlemen?
2. Black and white photography? Action sequences? Atmosphere? Musical score and the Stephen Foster themes woven in?
3. The title and the focus on the history of Arizona? The various captions given throughout the film to highlight this history? A piece of Americana? The opening up of the West? Law and justice?
4. The focus on Phoebe and her working in Arizona? Her position in Tucson? Baking the pies? get ambitious for trade, for carriers? The money behind her? The enmity of people in the town? Ward and the robberies? Carteret and his suave manner, duping her? Robbing her and then lending her the money? The judge and his attitudes towards law? The help of the storekeeper? The establishment of her firm? The difficulties with the Indians? The military? Her friendship with Peter? A robust falling in love with him? His advice about Carteret? His going to California, his return? Asking him to get the cattle? The robbery, his suspicions? His success with the cattle, the stampede of the cattle back to the Indians? The confrontation with Carteret? The marriage and the happy ending? A strong western heroine?
5. Peter and his place in Arizona, wanting to move West, his encounter with Phoebe and his helping her? The pie? Falling in love? His decision to go to California? The return? His getting the cattle, suspicions of Carteret? The stampede of the cattle against the Indians? The gunshots with Carteret? The wedding and the happy ending?
6. Carteret as the suave villain, his use of Ward, despising him? Ultimately killing him? The robberies? Manoeuvres about law and justice? Selling guns to the Indians? Using them against the cattlemen? His robbing Phoebe and lending her the money? Making his demands? Murders? The confrontation with Peter?
7. Ward and his greed, stupidity, being duped by Carteret, his death?
8. The ordinary people of the town, their interest in supplies, the coaches, trade, the shops? The storekeeper and his support of Phoebe?
9. The judge and his attitudes towards law and order, his place in the town?
10. Tucson and the establishing of Arizona, the changing situations, stagecoaches and trade, the need for money, the opening up of cattle stations, the railroad coming?
10. The familiar themes of the western? The scope of their presentation here? The film in the tradition of Hollywood westerns?