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Warlock [Import]

 Unrated   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Warlock [Import] + The Last Wagon (La dernière caravane) (Bilingual) + Yellow Sky
Price For All Three: CDN$ 37.21

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Warlock is a fascinating yet frustrating CinemaScope Western, almost unique in the genre for being based on a literarily respectable novel--Oakley Hall's 1958 recasting of the Wyatt-Earp-in-Tombstone legend. As adapted by TV dramatist Robert Alan Aurthur, the tale focuses on three men: the elegant gambler/gunfighter/lawman-for-hire Blaisdell (Henry Fonda in the Earp part); his lethal partner and creepily possessive best friend Morgan (Anthony Quinn as a variation on Doc Holliday); and Johnny Gannon (Richard Widmark), a ranch cowboy more burdened with scruples than his fellow rowdies, who have made the silver-mining town of Warlock their violent playground. To reclaim their community, the townsfolk strike a bargain with the devil they don't know--Blaisdell--in hopes of being delivered from the devil they do, the cowboys and their cold-blooded boss McQuown (former MGM juve Tom Drake in the Ike Clanton role).

Fonda's and Widmark's characters evolve intriguingly; Blaisdell affords Western aficionados early hints of Fonda's badman Frank in Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West, while Widmark's Gannon reforms, becomes town deputy, and has to go up against not only his old cronies but the hired marshal. Sad to say, despite its three strong leads and a script full of shootings, sadism, and no end of betrayals, the movie keeps bogging down from too much undigested backstory, too much talk, and Edward Dmytryk's flatfooted direction. Even the redoubtable cinematographer Joe MacDonald, who so stunningly shot John Ford's Earp-in-Tombstone classic My Darling Clementine 13 years earlier, disappoints with bland, featureless lighting better suited to a TV show. Speaking of which, future Star Trekker DeForest Kelley plays the only other McQuown rider with a conscience. --Richard T. Jameson


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Near brilliant, undiscovered western Jan. 29 2004
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An underrated tragedy of the West Jan. 25 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is one of the greatest westerns of every decade. Henry Fonda gives a towering performance as hired Marshal Blaisdell, with companions Anthony Quinn and Richard Widmark as well as a lot of convincing sidekicks. One realizes its origin in a marvellous novel by Oakley Hall, which has been comprised very well. A lot of pychological portraits, thrilling showdowns, carefully built-up sets and costumes, more than the usual card-board westerners, fine dialogue and a great music score by Leigh Harline. Unfortunately, the video doesn't contain the original CinemaScope format, but otherwise this underrated movie has the power of a great tragedy, the last first-rate movie by director Edward Dmytryk.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Western As It Should Be April 20 2000
By BVT
Format:VHS Tape
A GREAT western! Fonda, Widmark, and Quinn gave superb performances in this one. Fonda as the mercenary lawman has scrupples and is principled, so totally different from the Eastwood types. This is definitely one of the best of the "American Made Westerns" genre. The phasing complements the story. The finale "shootout" between Fonda and Widmark is classic and will be long remembered. I highly recommend this to true blue western buffs for this is one of the last "highs" before the onslaught of the sphagetti westerns. Ranks up there with Stagecoach, High Noon, the Searchers, Chisum, Ride the High Country, and Rio Bravo.
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5.0 out of 5 stars must see of the western genre May 3 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
much overlooked, somewhat forgotten, thinking mans western. Excellent film with Excellent performances. Widmark is a standout amoungst standouts. Deforest Kelly (from a little known sci fi show "Star Trek") is a great bad guy also.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the ten best westerns ever Sept. 8 1999
Format:VHS Tape
A great, atmospheric film having major western stars in their best form. Everything seems to be clicking just right. In my opinion it is better than Nigh Noon or Red River. Enjoy it!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars elated to find this one May 31 2004
Format:VHS Tape
AFTER YEARS OF SEARCHING FOR THIS ONE BY DIFFERENT AVENEWS, i WAS ELATED TO FIND IT HERE ON AMAZON.COM.
I ALSO BELIEVE IT IS A HIGHLY UNDERRATED FILM THAT HAS BEEN LOST IN THE ARCHIVES FAR TOO LONG.
I ALSO FOUND ANOTHER GREAT FONDA MOVIE THAT I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR, FOR YEARS, AND THAT IS,( SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION, WITH PAUL NEWMAN ) ANOTHER ONE BURIED IN THE ARCHIVES FAR TOO LONG WAITING TO BE RE'DISCOVERED.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Sept. 6 2014
Format:DVD
Thank you the movie was great!
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