November 8, 2011

Arizona (1940)

I'm not a fan of westerns but Arizona is a a high-falutin', scootin', rootin', tootin shoot 'em up with an involving plot about civilizing the Tucson territory and two excellent performances by Jean Arthur and her very young (1940!) and very handsome love interest, William Holden. The black and white photography (shot on desert locations) is stunning and the action scenes (including wagon train attacks and a cattle stampede) are thrilling. And the lead character (Phoebe Titus as portrayed by Ms. Arthur) who uses her wits to build her businesses (and the territory) surely makes this the first post-modern feminist western - years before Johnny Guitar.

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