14 June 2000 | FISHCAKE
Sanitized version of O.Henry's "The Caballero's Way"
This is likely the first sound western film as well as the first sound film done out-of-doors. Suggested by "The Caballero's Way", a short story by William Sidney Porter (O.Henry), the main character, "The Cisco Kid", has been considerably upgraded. Porter's "Kid" was a ruthless bandit who didn't like people who got in his way, especially sheriffs. When a sheriff seduced the "Kid's" girl-friend into betraying him into an ambush, the "Kid", ruthlessly clever, took his revenge in a sadistic fashion. In case one might want to read the story, I will say no more. In the film, the "Kid" is a bandit right enough, but a sympathetic one, and sufficiently clever to outwit a sheriff who persuades the girlfriend to disarm the "Kid". She does this by charming him into taking off his gun when he meets her for a tryst. Don't worry, the "Kid" is one up on this trick, too, but protects himself in somewhat gentler fashion than in the story. If one could view this film today it would seem a museum piece, but not without some pictorial charm. I remember the photography as very pictorial, as with some later sequels, and there is a scene of bacon frying over a campfire that rather startled 1929 film goers with the realistic sound.