Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What’s your favorite western movie? I’m thinking about this now that winter has rolled around and I can’t shoot for the next couple of months. Warlock is my favorite western movie. Warlock was made in 1959 by Edward Dmytryk and stared Henry Fonda, Anthony Quinn, and Richard Widmark. Dymytryk is one of those classic Hollywood directors who was responsible for The Young Lions and The Caine Mutiny the depth that is found in both of those films can be found in this one as well.

The movie starts simple enough and at first seems to be much like 90 percent of the westerns being made at that time. A town called Warlock is being plagued by a gang of cowboys and the townsfolk hire a gunman to come to town and clean things up. Henry Fonda plays Clay Blaisedell the hired gunman. Anthony Quinn plays his gambler friend Tom Morgan.

The tone of the movie starts to change pretty quickly as one of the cowboys, Johnny Gannon played by Richard Widmark, decides he wants no part of the thugs and members of the town make him deputy marshal to Fonda’s marshal. Good guys morph into bad guys, bad guys become good guys, and Anthony Quinn plays one of the best and creepiest (and probably gay, but the film only hints at that) “sidekicks” I have seen in a western. At the end you’ll find yourself never hearing “Rock of Ages” the same again. This isn’t a light hearted western it is thought provoking with plenty of depth and character to sink your teeth into. It was the first film I ever saw Richard Widmark in and I still think it’s one of his best performances.

So this long winter go out and rent or buy Warlock, you’ll be happy you did.

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