Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda, Anthony Quinn, Dorothy Malone, Dolores Michaels
Director: Edward Dmytryk
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns
In this Classic Western, Henry Fonda and Anthony Quinn clean up a lawless town, only to discover there's even more unfinished business.
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Near brilliant, undiscovered western
Chris K. Wilson | Dallas, TX United States | 01/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The 1959 film "Warlock" is one of those great surprises for movie fans. It's a classic western, undiscovered, awaiting the lucky viewer who happens to stumble across it. After viewing this dark, almost gothic oater, most viewers will ask themselves, "Why haven't I heard of this film?!"I'm not sure as to why "Warlock" has been relatively ignored over the years, though I think the film is derivative of other films. I think the generic Hollywood backlots where "Warlock" was undoubtedly filmed certainly detract from its overall allure. But simply put, "Warlock" fell through the cracks, and it's a film deserving of reexamination.Part "High Noon," part "Shane," part "The Searchers," "Warlock" tells the tale of a town victimized by crime. They hire a gunfighter in the form of Henry Fonda, who arrives with a crippled sidekick (Anthony Quinn) in tow. Fonda's character becomes a semi-celebrity, granted carte blanche as he calmly strolls the streets adorned in shining pistols and dark suits. The cantankerous Quinn, lugging around a shotgun, watches Fonda's back while sipping champagne and taking care of the finances.But the town (named Warlock) is anything but a simple job. A former love of Quinn's (Dorothy Malone) is a resident, and he wants her back. Richard Widmark also resides here, and he's none too happy about the hiring of the gunfighters, sensing the community should stand up for itself. A young woman (Dolores Michaels) also catches Fonda's eye, and for the first time he begins to wonder about settling down. All of these emotional dramas play out, having tragic circumstances.Director Edward Dmytryk, one of the more underrated filmmakers from this period, has done an excellent job in weaving these multiple storylines together. He also displays an excellent visual flair, most notably during a gunfight between Fonda and Frank Gorshin about midway through the film. I could argue that the scene is one of the great cinematic gunfights in history. Superbly choregraphed, Fonda screams the name "Billy, Billy......!" before drawing his gun and reluctantly killing the man. It is a brilliant, unforgettable moment, precursing many of the operatic gunfights from Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns 10 years later.Quinn also gives a memorable supporting performance as Fonda's sidekick. Tortured by his club foot handicap and angry at the world, Quinn is a live keg waiting to explode. He does the dirty work for Fonda, and exposes the hypocrisy of Fonda's dream to settle down and retire from a life of gunfighting. Quinn knows he and Fonda can never be a part of modern civilization. Essentially, they are walking death, perfectly symbolized by Fonda's dark suits - a black spot in the dusty streets, stark and apart.As Fonda stands amid the ruins of a burned out saloon, he is alone, tall, lanky, a scythe-carrying spector. His past choices have fatefully isolated him from civilization. Like John Wayne's Ethan Edwards at the end of "The Searchers," he can never comfortably walk through the door of domestic civilization. He is destined a life of solitude, forced by fate to step aside and allow the modern world to take root. His job, for all intents and purposes, is finally done."Warlock" is a great, undiscovered western. It has brilliant performances, terrific dialogue and unforgettable imagery. It is an unheralded masterpiece."
Warlock ain't for me
Steven Hellerstedt | 07/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the great, forgotten westerns, Edward Dmytryk's WARLOCK is the story of the little southwestern town of Warlock and its ongoing battle with a gang of law breaking desperados. The gang is led by Abe McQuown (Tom Drake,) a bad hombre who we can safely assume has ruled Warlock for a long, long time. The first scene in the film shows McQuown and gang `calling out' the town's deputy sheriff. If the opening scene is a little reminiscent of the closing scenes of `High Noon', the deputy sheriff's inglorious exit is not. He's humiliated out of town, and McQuown's control of the cowed town is once again secure and unquestioned.
One emergency town council meeting later the town agrees to spend the exorbitant amount of $400 a month to buy the services of gunslinger Clay Blaisedell (Henry Fonda) and his tag-along friend, gambling operator and dime magazine hero Tom Morgan (Anthony Quinn), the `Black Rattlesnake of St. James.' Since Warlock is not an incorporated town, Blaisedell becomes town marshal `by acceptance.' In other words, he's not legally a law officer because the law doesn't recognize his authority. The town accepts him to keep the peace, which more or less means bringing the McQuown gang to heel. Blaisedell comes with a notorious reputation of his own, and the town is increasingly uncomfortable using anarchy and murder to destroy anarchy and murder. Of course, nobody wants to take over as deputy sheriff, either - all that job offers is $40 a month and a spot in the short line for a pine box. Fortunately, a former McQuown gang member, Johnny Gannon (Richard Widmark), agrees to take the job and help Warlock `grow up.'
The premise - terrorized community enlists outside aid to restore peace - is a popular one, brilliantly realized earlier by Kurosawa in `The Seven Samurai', which was later remade by Hollywood as `The Magnificent Seven' and `The Magnificent Seven Ride Again,' along with a slew of others. What sets WARLOCK apart is its focus on characters and shifting relationships. The relationship between Clay Blaisedell and Tom Morgan has attracted a lot of attention and ink over the years as one that's perhaps more passionate and deeper than it appears on the surface. Things happen and, as in real life, changing circumstances change people's relations to each other. Widmark's Johnny Gannon starts out as a member of McQuown's gang and changes to a defender of the community his former gang threatens. When Gannon becomes deputy sheriff Blaisedell's position as hired defender slowly changes, as does his relationship with his dear friend Tom Morgan. And so on. Loyalties change, friendships swell and some burst apart while new ones are slowly forged.
Although I'm a huge fan of his MURDER, MY SWEET, I think WARLOCK has to be considered Edward Dmytryk's masterpiece. Everything works in this complex and layered story of frontier justice. It works on the surface as a straight-ahead actioner, and it holds up to the scrutiny of those who like to look under the hood of things. Highest recommendation for this terrific film.
One Of The Best Westerns Of The 50's!
Erik Rupp | Southern California | 03/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Warlock is one of those movies that got lost in the shuffle in the years following its release. Subsequent classics like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Magnificent Seven, The Man With No Name trilogy, The Wild Bunch, etc, all diverted attention away from this 1959 Western masterpiece. Expertly directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda (in one of his best Western roles), Anthony Quinn (in arguably HIS best Western role), DeForest Kelley, and Dorothy Malone, this is a movie that - upon further review - truly does hold up very well against even the best Westerns of all time.
Fonda plays a Marshall (gun) for hire who is brought in to "clean up" the town of Warlock. He does so with the proviso that he can do it his way, with no interference from the town council. They agree, but he warns them that at first they will love him and what he does, but later on they will come to hate him and his methods. His prediction comes true, but the way the story plays out belies the usual Western cliche's. The script is expertly written with characters that ring true in a rather sophisticated storyline.
Warlock, in a way, combines the classic Western styles of the 40's & 50's, with what would be seen in the 60's, and even foreshadows some elements that would be seen later in modern (1980's to present) Westerns. It is a great character study, and has (rightly) been called the quintessential "Psychological Western." While Warlock isn't a "shoot 'em up" Western, the action sequences are very good and the movie is riveting throughout.
The DVD transfer lives up to the high standards of the movie itself. The picture is sharp and the print is clean (for a movie of this age), and the colors are vibrant. This is a movie that belongs in the collection of every Western fan.
Unjustly neglected Western
F. J. Harvey | Birmingham England | 09/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Warlock is a town in the West ,one that is experiencing an epidemic of lawlessness,deliberately fostered by a local rancher ,Alec McQuon (Tom Drake ).He allows his ranch hands free rein ,as a way of demonstrating his power and deterring challenges from others contemplating moving into the area.(The use of terror as a political tool helps give the movie a distinctly contemporary relevance ).One of his men Gannon (Richard Widmark )is conscience stricken and withdraws from the gang .
The town leaders -having seen the latest in a succession of Marshal's driven away -turn to a hired towm tamer ,the legendary Clay Blaisdell (Henry Fonda )to enforce the law and he is accompanied by Tom Morgan (Anthony Quinn ) a club footed saloon keeper and noted gunman in his own right .The relationship evokes comparison with that of Earp and Hollday ,and it is worth noting that Fonda had played a similar role in "My Darling Clementine" of which this movie is darker more tragic version
The townspeople have taken the step reluctantly and in a key scene ,Blaisdell -who is aware that he is in some respects an anachronism ,sets out the situation bluntly and with eloquence "I come here as your salvation ,at a very high wage.I establish law and order,ride roughshod over offenders.At first ,you're pleased because there's a good deal less trouble.Then a strange thing happens -you begin to feel I'm too powerful and you begin to fear me.Not me but what I am.When that happens we shall have had full satisfaction from each other."
The prediction is spot on .The very success of Blaisdell in sending McQuon packing the first time prompts the threat of massive reprisals and the town backs away from supporting him.
Gannon meanwhile has become the new deputy Marshall and seeks to impose the ruile of law in defiance of both Blaisdell -whom he likes and respects -and McQuon.
Both Blaisdell and Gannon have significant relationships with women -Blaisdell with a leading figure in the town Jessie Marlowe (Dolores Michaels)and Gannon with Lily Dollar (Dorothy Malone )who hates Blaisdell who she feel nedlessly killed her fiance at the instigation of Morgan.
The various conflicts all move towards a resolution by violence-that between the McQuon gang and the law ,the conflict within Gannon whose younger brother is part of the McQuon outfit ,and most compellingly that within Morgan whose friendship with Blaisdell ,it is hinted rather than stated, may contain a semi -erotic element.
There is more than a hint of Greek tragedy about the movie -the atmosphere is brooding and tragic and the movie is more town focused than is usual within the genre ,making sparse use only of its Utah locations .It is an internal Western rather than one of the wide open spaces.
The climax will evoke memories of High Noon -the discarding of legend and with it a sense of personal identity and the riding away into an uncertain future is moving and apt.
Brillaint performance all round especially by Quinn as the tragic Morgan -a man destroyed by the power of his friendship.Fonda back in the genre after a long absence is brilliant and minor roles are well cast .Action scemes are well staged and for their day quite violent.The neglect this fine movie has fallen into is unmerited--please give it a go even if the genre is not your normal thing."