7.2/10
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67 user 24 critic

Warlock (1959)

Passed | | Western | April 1959 (USA)
A famous gunman becomes the marshal of Warlock to end a gang's rampages, but is met with some opposition by a former gang member turned deputy sheriff who wants to follow only legal methods.

Director:

Edward Dmytryk

Writers:

Robert Alan Aurthur (screenplay), Oakley Hall (novel)
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Popularity
3,001 ( 11,232)

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Widmark ... Johnny Gannon
Henry Fonda ... Clay Blaisedell
Anthony Quinn ... Tom Morgan
Dorothy Malone ... Lily Dollar
Dolores Michaels ... Jessie Marlow
Wallace Ford ... Judge Holloway
Tom Drake ... Abe McQuown
Richard Arlen ... Bacon
DeForest Kelley ... Curley Burne (as De Forest Kelley)
Regis Toomey ... Skinner
Vaughn Taylor ... Henry Richardson
Don Beddoe ... Dr. Wagner
Whit Bissell ... Petrix
Bartlett Robinson ... Buck Slavin
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Storyline

In the small frontier mining town of Warlock, rancher Abe McQuown's gang of cowboy cutthroats terrorize the peaceful community, humiliating the town's legitimate deputy Sheriff and running him out of town. Helpless and in need of protection, the townsfolk hire the renowned town tamer Clay Blaisdell, as unofficial Marshal, to bring law and order to the town. Clay arrives with his good friend and backup Tom Morgan. The two men stand up to the ranch gang and quiet the town. Johnny Gannon, a former member of the ranch gang is bothered by the gang's actions, reforms and takes on the deputy Sherrif job while his brother remains part of the gang. The addition of the official lawman to the mix further complicate matters, leading to an inevitable clash of the cowboys, the townsfolk, the gunslingers and the law. Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Wherever you've been... Whatever you've seen... You've never run into anything like Warlock.

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

April 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shoot Out at Warlock See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,400,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,706,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| 4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Henry Fonda would go on in 1973 to play gunfighter Jack Beauregard, a gunfighter with a reputation for cleaning up crime in the spaghetti western comedy My Name Is Nobody (1973) (English title My Name is Nobody). See more »

Goofs

When Blaisedell and Morgan are about to ride into Warlock, they stop to overlook the town from a hilltop. The transition from the foreground with the actors, to the animated background matte painting of the town is quite noticeable, as the foreground moves slightly. See more »

Quotes

Johnny Gannon: He just saved your life, Billy! I wonder why...
See more »

Connections

Featured in This Is Us: Vietnam (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
(uncredited)
Music by Thomas Hastings
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady
Performed by Henry Fonda & cast
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
tight, layered, well acted, well filmed Western that rises just a little above the rest
30 October 2011 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Warlock (1959)

Director Edward Dmytryk is one of those dependable Golden Age mainstays who is pulling off tightly made movies even this late in the game. After many archetypal movies, often just short of greatness, he is still putting on a good game with first rate camera-work (Joe MacDonald) and top shelf actors (Henry Fonda, Anthony Quinn, and Richard Widmark, all in major roles). And so this is actually a strong, complex movie.

It helps that the plot, even though apparently another retread of Western clichés, is complex and well balanced. That the bad guys are partly very good and vice versa is exactly what the genre needs, and it is filmed so gorgeously--the night and interior stuff especially--it has a feeling of total command. It's a strong if still conventional film, a true Western in the best Anthony Mann sense rather than John Ford.

The plot is too complex to even analyze quickly, but a couple key elements play out. First, Fonda and Quinn play hired marshals who come into towns overwhelmed by some bad guys. They are hired for their ruthlessness because the town has no choice, but when they get to work, the town begins to doubt itself. And then there are all the secret past events that seem to converge here, almost too perfectly, but creating a layered and sometimes confusing backstory that gradually moves front and center.

All three male actors are in top form--I'll assume it's because the whole lot of them were consummate professionals there to get a job done well. While this was made years after the official end of the old studio system, it still is made (on location) with the same general factory ethic--tight production standards, familiar genres, efficient entertainment. It works, and it works better than it should. Certainly not a classic like "High Noon" or "Stagecoach," but a solid entry even for people who think they don't like westerns.


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