Friday, September 17, 2010


No, this is not a Harry Potter prequel! But Warlock did give me a definite sense of deja-vu. This 1959 movie, which is in color and is 122 minutes long, stars Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda, and Anthony Quinn, with DeForest Kelley in a supporting role. L.Q. Jones (Clint Weaver in Stagecoach Seven and Peterson in McGuffin) and Ann Doran (Mrs. Simpson in Witness to a Lynching) make cameo appearances; Jones appeared about thirty-five minutes into the movie and although bearded, I immediately recognized him by his voice. I could not, however, tell who Doran was until I looked at the cast list.

Warlock, which is the name of the town where all the action occurs in this film, reminded me somewhat of The McCreedy Bust: Going, Going, Gone. When the movie begins, a group of riders storms into town, shooting off their guns, while the townsfolk scurry out of the way. But instead of humiliating someone by forcing him to dance a jig, the gang shames the sheriff in another way and runs him out of town. Then the gang proceeds to hurrah the town and intimidate all the law-abiding people who live there.

In an attempt to restore law and order, a town committee hires a "marshal," Fonda's character, who along with his sidekick, played by Quinn, rides into town and cleans it up. Their relationship reminded me of the two characters in the recent movie, Appaloosa. There are several subplots involving love interests, a gang member who deserts the gang (Widmark's character), and how the two main characters relate to each other. One of the love interests, played by Dolores Michaels, doesn't believe in killing; of course that reminded me of Louise in Everything Else You Can Steal.

Themes of change and redemption are important aspects of this movie. There is lots of shooting but for some reason, Warlock did not have the feel of a movie that was filled with action, perhaps because there were long periods where the people were engaged in just talking to each other.

What made Warlock look familiar was the fact that it was partially filmed in the Moab area! I immediately recognized Dead Horse Point in one scene and other places I recently visited in other scenes. In fact, Warlock also filmed at the place where I stayed, which at the time was called White's Ranch. I enjoyed the movie because of that but I wouldn't rank it among my top favorite Westerns.