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Don't go into the 1940 western drama Arizona expecting a whole lot of action, and odds are you'll find a lot to like in this enjoyably outdated little chestnut. Starring old-school legends William Holden and Jean Arthur, Arizona takes its good ol' sweet time moseying through the narrative tumbleweeds, but there's still an enjoyable sheen of old-fashioned little oater.
Arthur stars as Phoebe Titus, "the only American woman in the Arizona territory," and a tough little cookie in her own right. Oh sure, Phoebe makes a living selling pies to the local soldiers and businessmen, but that's just a way to make ends meet until she can open her very own cattle ranch. (Too bad cows are not indigenous to Arizona.) And woe is the ornery cuss who tries to separate Phoebe from her hard-earned cash, because this is a woman who owns a big shotgun, and she's not afraid to swing it around when she has to.
William Holden plays Pete Muncie, a good-natured cowpoke new in Tuscon who takes an almost immediate shine to Miss Phoebe ... but Pete has a travelin' itch to scratch, and he signs up for a California-bound wagon train before he can spark a certifiable romance with Ms. Piemaker.
Toss in a whole bunch of colorful supporting characters, a few snarling villains who aim to snatch Phoebe's land, and a historically-based background that gives some background as to how Arizona became its own state, and you've got Arizona. It's got a few nifty action scenes, a handful of funny bits, and just enough craftiness and character to keep you watching for the whole two hours. It's not as gritty as John Wayne or as romantic as Louis L'Amour, but the flick's a solid enough black & white throwback to keep the Western fans suitably entertained.
Video: The movie is presented in its original full screen format, and the picture quality (for a movie more than 60 years old) is quite strong.
Audio: English 1.0 with optional subtitles in English and Spanish.
A romantic western melodrama with action for the boys, kissin' for the girls, and just enough of a history lesson to keep Mom & Dad entertained. Recommendable mainly to the old-school movie geeks who remember the flick from the late-late show, Arizona's far from the best Western I've ever seen, but it's sure as shootin' not one of the worst.