Saturday, Oct 2020
Director: Wesley Ruggles
Screenwriters: Claude Binyon from Clarence Kelland's story
Length: 125 mins.
Released: 1940 B & W

arizona 1940Directed by Wesley Ruggles, the director of Cimarron (1931), the first Western to win a Best Picture Oscar. Arizona is an early historical epic about the settling of the Arizona Territory. The film features Jean Arthur as Phoebe Titus. A rough and tumble frontier lady. She is as tough as any of the men and more ambitious than most. Arthur's role is quite unusual for an early full length Western. But not so different for Ruggles. His several movies often featured strong women; Mae West (I'm No Angel) and Lana Turner (Somewhere I'll Find You). Arthur's character can survive without a man but after sizing up Peter Muncie's stock (a young William Holden), she decides to pursue him. One would have to go to 1954 and Johnny Guitar to find the next Western featuring such a strong female lead.

Arizona is a fine story supported by a deep cast of characters. Edgar Buchanan does swell job playing the corrupt and liquored-up judge Bogartus. If it wasn't for Jean Arthur's nasal voice, a feature that hampers her characters' believability, this film would be a Must View. Regardless, it is a solid movie that is beautifully filmed.

Cast:

  • Jean Arthur....Phoebe Titus
  • William Holden....Peter Muncie
  • Warren William....Jefferson Carteret
  • Porter Hall....Lazarus Ward
  • Edgar Buchanan....Judge Bogardus
  • Paul Harvey ....Solomon Warner, General Store Owner
  • George Chandler....Haley Ward, Henchman
  • Byron Foulger....Pete Kitchen
  • Regis Toomey....Grant Oury
  • Paul Lopez ....Estevan Ochoa
  • Colin Tapley....Bart Massey
  • Uvaldo Varela....Hilario Gallego
  • Earl Crawford....Joe Briggs
  • Griff Barnett....Sam Hughes
  • Ludwig Hardt....Meyer
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