13 September 1999 | Delphian
A young Wayne shines in otherwise boring film
This early John Wayne film left a lot to be desired. Nonetheless, for a 1934 low-budget film, it wasn't all that bad. The film's saving grace is that it clocks in at just over 50 minutes. About the time you're getting bored with it and ready to move on, it is over.
Neath Arizona Skies is badly in need of restoration. The image quality is fair at best and the sound track is scratchy throughout. However, despite the erosion of time, the story line remains interesting, if predictable. Your typical western, the story traces the hero's (Wayne) attempts to save a half-breed child whose worth $50,000 in oil money.
The young Wayne shows promise of what was to come. He saves the show from otherwise stale acting. One notable exception is Gaby Hayes in an uncredited bit part. He is charming and provides Wayne with a solid support that makes Wayne look better than he probably was at that time. One obvious neglect is costume design. The woman (Shelia Terry) - Wayne's love interest - is dressed in very fashionable 1930s attire, and sticks out like a sore thumb against the men in their buckskins and cowboy hats.
If you can stand bad costuming, fake sound effects and a grainy picture, the film is worth seeing. In others words, if you aren't a diehard Wayne fan, don't bother.