The Baron of Arizona

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The Baron of Arizona
Poster of the movie The Baron of Arizona.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySamuel Fuller
Produced byCarl Hittleman
Written bySamuel Fuller
StarringVincent Price
Ellen Drew
Music byPaul Dunlap
CinematographyJames Wong Howe
Edited byArthur Hilton
Production
company
Deputy Corporation
Distributed byLippert Pictures
Release date
  • March 4, 1950 (1950-03-04)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$135,000[1]

The Baron of Arizona is a 1950 American Western film directed by Samuel Fuller and starring Vincent Price and Ellen Drew.

The film concerns a master forger's attempted use of false documents to lay claim to the territory of Arizona late in the 19th century. It is based on the case of James Reavis,[2] whose scheme came close to success, but many of the film's details are fictionalized.

Plot[edit]

The notorious attempt by swindler James Reavis to claim the entire territory of Arizona as his own before it was granted statehood in 1912 is recounted years later by John Griff, who works for the Department of the Interior.

In 1872, Reavis went to great lengths to forge documents in Spain and create the illusion that he had a legal right to claim all of Arizona his own. He began by seeking out Pepito Alvarez to inquire about Sofia, an infant abandoned by Reavis many years before.

Reavis decides to take Sofia home with him, hire governess Lorna Morales to refine her, then marry her, using fabricated proof that identifies Sofia as the rightful "baroness" of Arizona. A suspicious U.S. government, unable to disprove Reavis' claim, offers him $25 million for the rights to the land. He declines.

The surveyor general, Miller, is sure Reavis has somehow doctored the documents. He brings in Griff, an expert on forgery. In the meantime, Reavis orders settlers and families off "his" land. A displaced rancher, Lansing, tosses a bomb into Reavis' office. It still does not discourage him, so Pepito finally threatens to reveal that Sofia's parents were not Spanish land barons at all, but native Indians.

Reavis is revealed as a charlatan. He manages to talk his way out of a lynching, but ends up behind bars. After serving time, he is released and reunited with Sofia ala horse carriage in the rain.

Cast[edit]

Production and release[edit]

Lippert allocated $100,000 to play the lead. Filming began August 20, 1949.[3] Robert L. Lippert spent $100,000 to promote the film. The film was shot in 15 days and a print is preserved by the Museum of Modern Art.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goodman, Ezra (February 28, 1965). "Low-Budget Movies With POW!; Most fans never heard of director Sam Fuller, but to some film buffs he has real class". New York Times.
  2. ^ "Film Tells of Arizona Baron". Wichita Daily Times. March 26, 1950.
  3. ^ 'WEAKER' SEX LAUGHS LAST. (1949, Jul 07). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from [1]

External links[edit]