A unique and often overlooked adult western that goes much deeper than most movies in this genre, WARLOCK would seem on the surface to be a fairly standard story. The citizens of the small town of Warlock are a kind, God-fearing lot who live in dread because a group of brawling cowboys,
led by Drake, likes to come into town from time to time and shoot up the place. They hire Fonda, a well-known gunslinger, to be local marshal. It's 1881, and men of Fonda's type are either dying of old age or being shot down by younger, faster cowboys, so he's something of an anachronism. He
accepts the job on the provision that he also can run the local gambling and dance parlor. Fonda soon meets Michaels, and an attraction between the two grows. Drake and his cohorts mosey back into Warlock accompanied by Widmark, who becomes disenchanted with Drake and his group so he quits the
gang and decides to remain in Warlock as Fonda's deputy. Fonda manages to get Drake and the other troublemakers out of town, and for a while law and order reign. The townsfolk decide that they don't need a professional gunslinger anymore, now that Drake and the others have been cowed. Inevitably,
however, the bad guys return.
WARLOCK was shot partly in Utah, although not much of the glorious scenery there was utilized. The filmmakers preferred instead to concentrate on the scene within the confines of the small town and the multilayered stories going on among the principals. There's a sense of brooding and Greek
tragedy here not usually presented in a cowboy movie. Yet under Dmytryk's strong direction of the Aurthur adaptation, the tone and story lines all work to great advantage. Fonda had bombed in two previous films and had to get back into mainstream movies. While this was hardly a typical western, it
did reestablish him in the eyes of the movie-going public as more than the effete Easterner he had portrayed in STAGE STRUCK and 12 ANGRY MEN. Lots of action punctuates the excellent dialogue, enhanced by a strong supporting cast.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A unique and often overlooked adult western that goes much deeper than most movies in this genre, WARLOCK would seem on the surface to be a fairly standard story. The citizens of the small town of Warlock are a kind, God-fearing lot who live in dread becau… (more)