(1950)3Craig ButlerThe Baron of Arizona is a bizarre but intriguing little Western that is really more a "tale of the West" than a "shoot 'em up" oater. One of Samuel Fuller's early efforts, it lacks the cohesive worldview that he would bring to his best work in later years, but it already features a leading character who is entirely convinced of the rightness of his actions, a trait that many later Fuller characters will share. Reavis of course knows that he is committing an incredible con, but there is also no doubt in his mind that he is fully entitled to do this. This is a fascinating trait, and even in this early attempt Fuller clearly relishes exploring it. Unfortunately, this particular take on that trait is not as well or fully developed, and that shortcoming does damage the film, as does a couple of unconvincing reversals and some sequences which come across as a tad farfetched. Still, there's a great deal here to appreciate, from Vincent Price's excellent performance in the lead role to Ellen Drew's accomplished turn as his wife to James Wong Howe's cinematography to Fuller's growing film vocabulary. If portions of the film drag in places due to forced exposition, the verve of the other sections makes up for it.