'Neath the Arizona Skies (1934)
'Neath the Usual Standard
Despite their obvious issues I kind of enjoy these old Lone Star Picture's from the 1930s, not just because they feature John Wayne but for fans of westerns they serve up a simple slice of western action and always under an hour. But some of these movies are better than others and unfortunately "'Neath the Arizona Skies" left me under whelmed and not just because it is not such a sharply shot movie as some of the others but because it spoils a good idea with ordinary stock elements.
Chris Morrell (John Wayne - The Shootist) is taking care of Nina (Shirley Jean Rickert) a half-Indian girl who is in line to inherit $50,000 from her late mother's stake in an oil well, but first Chris and Nina must track down her father. They are not the only ones looking for Nina's father as outlaw Sam Black (Yakima Canutt) is after him and plans to use Nina to get to him. Matters become even more complicated when Morrell has to deal with robber Jim Moore (Jay Wilsey) who steals his shirt and then finds himself falling for Clara (Sheila Terry) who just happens to be Jim's sister.
The trouble with "'Neath the Arizona Skies" is that they have a good idea for an amusing western but then destroy it with the typical action and drama which filled these early westerns. In the opening 10 minutes where we have John Wayne with a cute Shirley Jean Rickert the set up for a fun movie about the young Duke saddled with a little girl has a lot of potential for some comedy, obvious comedy but still enjoyable comedy. But instead of exploring that what we have is the usual collection of elements which means we watch Wayne's character fight some bad guys, save the day and get the girl with most of the best action involving horse riding including one featuring a horse leaping off a cliff. It's a shame because it means that "'Neath the Arizona Skies" ends up ordinary and with the inferior picture quality and the uneasy lack of soundtrack makes it hard work.
What this all boils down to is that once again "'Neath the Arizona Skies" is very much a movie for those heavily into westerns or John Wayne but for me it is one of the weaker movies from Lone Star Pictures despite having an entertaining initial set up.
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