🎥 Warlock – 1959
The Story …
Warlock is a small Utah mining town of the early 1880s. Cowboys working for Abe McQuown often come into town, killing on a whim, and beating, humiliating and running out of town any deputy sheriff who tries to stand up to them.
The Citizens’ Committee decides to hire Clay Blaisedell, a renowned gunfighter, as town marshal in spite of the misgivings of some, such as old Judge Holloway. The town is not incorporated and does not have authority to have its own marshal.
Blaisedell arrives with his devoted clubfooted friend, Tom Morgan, an expert gunman as well. Morgan has a reputation as a heavy-drinking gambler, but Blaisedell insists that he is part of the package.
Morgan becomes the manager of the town’s saloon …
Their first encounter with McQuown’s men is without bloodshed. The cowboys are intimidated by Blaisedell, and one, Johnny Gannon, stays behind, because he has become sick of their murderous ways.
Morgan learns that his old flame, Lily Dollar, is coming to town on the stagecoach, accompanied by Bob Nicholson, brother of Big Ben Nicholson, who was recently killed by Blaisedell. Lily had left Morgan for Big Ben and knows that Morgan pushed Ben into challenging Blaisedell, who killed him. She wants Blaisedell dead to punish Morgan.
Morgan sets out to meet the stagecoach, but sees from a distance it being robbed by some of McQuown’s men. He takes advantage of the situation to kill Bob Nicholson unseen. Lily arrives in town and sees Morgan there. She correctly guesses that he pulled the trigger.
The robbers are arrested without incident by Blaisedell and a posse. Before taking them to Bright City for trial, the sheriff, who disapproves of Blaisedell, accepts Gannon’s offer to become Warlock’s new resident deputy.
The robbers, one of whom is Gannon’s younger brother Billy, are cleared by a jury intimidated by McQuown. The cowboys, led by Billy, immediately confront Blaisedell and Morgan in the street. Deputy Gannon asks them to leave and tells Billy, “I ain’t backin’ him, because you’re my brother, and I ain’t backin’ you, because you’re wrong.” A cowboy tries to shoot Blaisedell in the back, but is spotted by Morgan and shot. Blaisedell kills two others, including Billy, after giving him a chance to back down. McQuown’s smooth-talking man Curley posts wanted notices for Blaisedell, declaring the cowboys “regulators” in mockery of his quasi-legal status. Gannon vows to stop any regulators who come into town, and McQuown angrily stabs him in his gun hand.
Townspeople begin resenting Blaisedell and Morgan, exactly as Blaisedell had predicted. However, he has started a relationship with Jessie Marlow and decides to marry and settle down, much to the surprise of Morgan, who wants to move on.
Despite his injured hand, Gannon faces the cowboys alone after Morgan pulls a gun on Blaisedell, who had volunteered to back the deputy. With help from the citizens and from Curley, who promised him “a fair fight”, Gannon unexpectedly kills McQuown and breaks up the regulators for good. Morgan cannot tolerate the idea that Gannon is now more of a hero than Blaisedell, and he resents Lily’s attraction to the deputy, too. In the course of an argument, Blaisedell learns the truth about the deaths of the Nicholson brothers and turns his back on Morgan.
That evening, in a drunken state, Morgan calls Gannon out, intending to kill him. Blaisedell locks Deputy Gannon in his own cell, insisting, “Tom Morgan’s my responsibility.” Initially content to seem cowed, Morgan is pleased Blaisedell is a hero again, but when townspeople jeer and mock Morgan as he walks away, he challenges Blaisedell to a showdown. Morgan shoots off Blaisedell’s hat before being fatally wounded a split-second later. Morgan’s dying words are, “I won, Clay, I won!”
A grief-stricken Blaisedell carries his friend’s body into the saloon, which he burns down. Gannon tells Blaisedell that he will arrest him in the morning if he does not leave town. Blaisedell decides to leave. Jessie refuses to accompany him. The next day, Gannon and Blaisedell face one another. Blaisedell outdraws Gannon, but then throws his famous golden-handled revolvers into the sand, smiles at Gannon and rides off.
- Directed by Edward Dmytryk
- Screenplay by Robert Alan Aurthur
- Based on Warlock by Oakley Hall
- Produced by Edward Dmytryk
- Cinematography : Joseph MacDonald
- Edited by Jack W. Holmes
- Music by Leigh Harline
- Colour Process : Colour by DeLuxe
- Production Company : 20th Century Fox
- Distributed by 20th Century Fox
- Release Date : April 15, 1959
- Richard Widmark as Johnny Gannon
- Henry Fonda as Clay Blaisedell
- Anthony Quinn as Tom Morgan
- Dorothy Malone as Lily Dollar
- Dolores Michaels as Jessie Marlow
- Wallace Ford as Judge Holloway
- Tom Drake as Abe McQuown
- Richard Arlen as Bacon
- DeForest Kelley as “Curley” Burne
- Regis Toomey as Skinner
- Vaughn Taylor as Henry Richardson
- Don Beddoe as Dr. Wagner
- Whit Bissell as Petrix
- Bartlett Robinson as Buck Slavin
- Frank Gorshin as Billy Gannon
- Don “Red” Barry as Calhoun
- Walter Coy as Deputy Thomson
- June Blair as Dance Hall Girl
- L. Q. Jones as Fen Jiggs
- Gary Lockwood as Gang Member
- Wally Campo as Barber
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