Saturday, July 12, 2008

Baron Vincent

Beneath all the Grand Guignol mannerisms Vincent Price was one hell of an actor. The Baron Of Arizona is an excellent reminder of that.

It was one of Samuel Fuller's first films, the true story of a swindler who tried to claim the entire territory of Arizona through a mythical Spanish land grant supposedly made to his wife's family. It was made in 1950 long before Price's days with William Castle and Roger Corman and he is terrific in the part with his cultured voice and regal bearing, coming off an expert con man, suave, menacing, sincere and quick witted all when he needs to be. He's so good that the picture doesn't suffer when his scheme inevitably falls apart and he is redeemed by the love of his wife. The expression on his face in the final scene when he leaves prison and sees his wife waiting for him is incredibly moving. This film, along with the much later Witchfinder General, shows that when he stayed away from camp, Price could really move you.

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