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Film / Warlock (1959)

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Warlock is a 1959 Western film directed by Edward Dmytryk, starring Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda, Anthony Quinn, Dorothy Malone, and DeForest Kelley.

The town of Warlock, Utah brings in a famous gunman to solve their problems with a gang of cowboys.

Tropes in this film include:

  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Blaisedell's gold-handled Colts are lampshaded and mocked... but also extremely shiny and cool.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Deconstructed and averted over the course of the movie. The need for outside imposition of law and order is negated when the citizens of Warlock appoint, and back up, their legal Marshal.
  • Cowardly Lion: Johnny Gannon is afraid of dying, like any man...but he'll stand up for the Law in the face of near-certain death, anyway.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: McQuown's beating of Johnny Gannon visibly disturbs even the other San Pabloites.
  • The Fettered: Johnny Gannon, as deputy, follows and enforces the law. This sharply contrasts Blaisedell, who has no legal duty or authority, since he is just a freelance marshal hired by citizens of an unincorporated town.
  • In the Back: the San Pabloites have a habit of doing this.
  • Jury and Witness Tampering: Billy Gannon and his partner are acquitted by a jury intimidated by McQuown.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: When Johnny Gannon faces off with Blaisedell at the end, Blaisedell easily outdraws him with his right hand, before tossing his gold-handled Colt on the ground. Then Blaisedell easily outdraws him with his left hand, tossing his other gold-handled Colt on the ground too. Then Blaisedell walks to the livery stable, gets on his horse, and rides out of town.
  • Love Redeems: Lily's relationship with Johnny Gannon allows her to move on past her desire for revenge on Morgan.
  • One-Word Title: It's titled just Warlock.
  • The Place: Warlock is the name of the town the story takes place.
  • Quick Draw: Blaisedell and Morgan are the fastest guns around.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Lily has been trying to kill Blaisedell...because that's the only way she can hurt Morgan.
  • Showdown at High Noon:
    • After he is acquitted, Billy Gannon faces off Blaisedell and Morgan in the middle of the street, supported by three other San Pabloites (two next to him and one sneaking around to shoot Blaisedell in the back).
    • Johnny Gannon, as deputy, tells Blaisedell that he will arrest him in the morning if he does not leave town. In the morning, they face off in the middle of the street.
  • Snark Knight: Lily can't refrain from bitter sarcasm, even when it's not helpful.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The plot vaguely maps to the Wyatt Earp/Tombstone saga.
  • Victory Through Intimidation: Blaisedell (and the Citizen's Committee) hold off a lynch mob at gunpoint.