Blu-ray Review: WARLOCK (1959)

WARLOCK (1959) is based on the novel of the same name by Oakley Hall. The movie was directed by Edward Dmytryk from a screenplay by Robert Alan Aurthur and stars Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda, Anthony Quinn, Dorothy Malone, Dolores Michaels, DeForest Kelley,Wallace Ford and Tom Drake. The score is by Leigh Harline.

Hired to protect a small mining town in Utah, gunslinger Clay Blaisedell (Henry Fonda) and his devoted follower, Tom Morgan (Anthony Quinn), partake in numerous liberties afforded by their position of power. While Blaisedell and Morgan match the violence of the outlaws they fight, the local inhabitants desire more peaceful resolutions to the crime problem. When reformed thug Johnny Gannon (Richard Widmark) takes the post of sheriff, he finds himself in competition with the town’s hired guns.

Possible spoilers ahead. The people of the small town of Warlock decide to hire respected gunslinger Clay Blaisedell (Henry Fonda) as the new marshal and he brings his partner Tom Morgan (Anthony Quinn) to help him clean things up. The thing about Morgan is that he’s a little different from Clay and more of a wild card. There’s a gang of cowboys that cause trouble in town and the new marshal lets them know quickly that he’s not going to put up with their unlawful mischief so they leave town. Not all of the cowboys are bad, especially Johnny Gannon (Richard Widmark), so he stays behind and ends up becoming a deputy. This also kind of causes a clash with the new marshal.

Morgan finds out that his old girlfriend Lily Dollar (Dorothy Malone) has arrived in town and when Johnny takes a liking to her, the wild card gunslinger doesn’t like it one bit. There’s also the young Jessie Marlow (Dolores Michaels) who gets a crush on Clay and the two hit it off at first, but when everything begins to fall apart for the gunslinger, their relationship quickly changes. What happens is, Morgan drinks way too much and decides to pick a gunfight with Johnny but Clay steps in just in time and unfortunately he has to do the unthinkable, put down his own friend. This is when Clay shows a darker side of himself and Johnny has to give him an ultimatum – get it together, leave town or prepare for a gunfight. Clay has some time to calm down from the tragedy that has taken place and in the end he decides to leave Warlock peacefully.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about Warlock by Julie Kirgo and more original artwork on the front and back. You can see the front cover of the booklet down below. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Warlock ended up being a really good western and another first time watch for me. This golden oldie features an all-star cast of familiar faces and they all do a great job with their characters. The fact that Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda and Anthony Quinn are all in this one movie together is really impressive. The story for Warlock is interesting because it kind of has a twist as it plays out because these heroic gunslingers that arrive in the small town to clean it up aren’t really law-abiding men and the one criminal who turns things around for himself sort of becomes the hero of the story. There’s definitely a redeeming quality about this man. Warlock was filmed in Utah and features a spot-on isolated location along with the vintage looking set designs and wardrobes. The movie does have a long run time but it’s fast-paced and plays out smoothly so there’s never a dull moment. All in all, I’d say that director Edward Dmytryk delivered one of the better westerns I’ve watched from this era even though I know there’s plenty more that I haven’t seen yet.Warlock is now available on Blu-ray and has a limited edition run of 3,000 units.

Distributor: Twilight Time

Run Time: 121 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include an Isolated Music Track, Fox Movietone Newsreel (01:00) and the Original Theatrical Trailer (02:46).

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