RETURN OF THE CISCO KID
(director: Herbert I. Leeds; screenwriters: Milton Sperling/based on the O. Henry stories; cinematographer: Charles G. Clarke; editor: James B. Clark; music: Cyril J. Mockridge; cast: Warner Baxter (Cisco Kid), Lynn Bari (Ann Carver ), Cesar Romero (Lopez), Henry Hull (Colonel Jonathan Bixby), Kane Richmond (Alan Davis), C Henry Gordon (Mexican captain), Robert Barrat (Sheriff McNally), Chris Pin Martin (Gordito), Soledad Jimenez (Mama Soledad); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Kenneth MacGowan; 20th Century Fox; 1939)
“It goes down as easy as a taco.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Another decent one in the popular Cisco Kid series, that’s loosely based on the O. Henry stories and written by Milton Sperling. It’s creaky but full of vigor. Herbert I. Leeds (“Ride on Vaquero”/”The Cisco Kid and the Lady”/”Time to Kill”) robustly directs, while Warner Baxter dons his sombrero to play the Cisco Kid for the second time. He reprises the Oscar-winning role he played in the 1929 In Old Arizona.
It’s set in 1900 in Northern Mexico. Through trickery, Cisco escapes a Mexican firing squad. The firing squad thinks Cisco is dead, so with his sidekicks Lopez (Cesar Romero) and Gordito (Chris Pin Martin) he heads to Arizona. Set on robbing the stagecoach, Cisco changes his mind when he meets the alcoholic braggart Southern Colonel Jonathan Bixby (Henry Hull) and falls for his pretty granddaughter Ann Carver (Lynn Bari). They came West to buy a ranch, but the old man is swindled by land baron and dictatorial town sheriff McNally (Robert Barrat). Cisco goes straight to get the ranch back for Ann, but is disappointed their partner’s son, Alan Davis (Kane Richmond), someone she hasn’t seen for ten years but knew from childhood, is also in town. When the three ranch owners are jailed by the crooked McNally, Cisco organizes a jailbreak. He then robs McNally’s bank of $100,000 to meet his asking price of the ranch deed he stole from the Colonel. But Cisco doesn’t realize that Ann is in love with Alan, and with the return of the ranch they announce their engagement. At first he’s so angered and feels betrayed that he sends Alan on a suicide mission through a pass where he will surely die at the hands of the Mexican army and McNally, but then changes his mind and rescues him.
It goes down as easy as a taco.
REVIEWED ON 9/25/2008 GRADE: B-