Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Arizona Days

Arizona Days (1937)
Dir. John English
Starring: Tex Ritter

Tex (Ritter) wants to join a traveling show. But after he forces some freeloaders to pay to see the show, he becomes a tax collector.
If someone were to ask for a typical Tex Ritter movie, then this would be a pretty good option. It isn't great like Rollin Plains, but it is not bad. Like most of the cheapie films of this era, it's fairly routine. Tex's character, who is shockingly named Tex*, who wants to join a traveling musical revue. But when some men try to sneak in without paying, he winds up becoming a tax collector and going after a gang plaguing the area. While singing some songs. And it plays out like every Tex Ritter movie does, and it's fun for what it is.

Ritter is good in the movie. His strength was singing, and his songs in the film aren't bad and the singing scenes don't tend to bog down the film. In this film Ritter's sidekick/comic relief is "Grass" Hopper, played by Syd Saylor. He isn't bad and helps move the film along,

I kind of hate that I don't really have much to say about the movie, but Arizona Days is a fairly typical poverty row cheapie B movie from the thirties that while it isn't bad, there really isn't anything special about it. While that's not necessarily a bad things, when trying to write something about it 80 years afterwards it can be kind of hard to say why someone should watch it. Right now this film, like many other of Tex Ritter's output from this era, is easily available in numerous public domain sets**, and really those sets are amazing due to the fact that they keep things available that would otherwise be lost or forgotten. For around $10 you'll get probably 50 films, and these films will be all over the place in terms of quality. But that's what's great about them. If there was someone that had never seen a western***, I'd recommend them getting one of the bricks and for them to just start watching. While they would get good flicks like The Grand Duel and McLintock!, you'll also get crap like White Comanche, but you'd get to see a wide range of films for cheap. But it should be noted that most public domain prints of this film seem to have about 10 minutes of footage removed from it, so if you do decide to watch it, try to track down a complete version of the movie.

This is a pretty run of the mill Tex Ritter movie. While it isn't great, it isn't offensively bad. It's not an awful way to spend an hour. But there are better Tex Ritter movies, like Rollin Plains. Watch that one instead.

* Tex Ritter has 74 credits as an actor on IMDB. 49 of them are for characters named "Tex".

**Also on YouTube. There are many PD films available on there. If it's something really old that you want to see, it's worth checking there first before dropping any money on something. There's also the Internet Archive that is another great resource for PD films.

*** This would also apply for the horror and science fiction sets.

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