160604: Had bought this film after watching it off TV. Yes, I liked it that much. Upon this viewing, like it just as much, if not more. Recently saw Fonda in My Name is Nobody (1973) and my passion for his work continues. Tom Morgan's (Quinn's) outfit with the blue vest is my inspiration for Cowboy Action Shooting. Love it. And Johnny Gannon's (Widmark) horse, the Grey, top notch. Add in a young DeForest Kelly and some amazing scenery and you've got a classic. This movie appeals to my western side, from many angles, in a big way. It ain't no white hat, black hat western. I'm happy to have added Warlock to my collection.
SPOILER ALERT His relationships with his partner Morgan and girlfriend Jesse are complex. Overtones of a gay relationship are pretty evident. But what does it all mean? Ostensibly, a study of courage in the face of violence and lawlessness but when the Shakespeare-quoting Morgan displays a death-wish when Clay wants to stay behind to settle down with a girl, you wonder where it's all leading. (Morgan's character in particular fascinated me because he must be one of the few leads in a film to actually be disabled without us knowing how he became so - obviously it wasn't a wounded leg, maybe polio)
Everyone has their wants, from Gannon to Lilly to the town as a whole. The film is so broad that you can see the characters all striving to get what they want. Maybe that's why it dissatisfied me, in the end. The film focused on too many
characters and seemed disjointed, confusing.
For all its placid surface, things at times happen abruptly - and inexplicably.
For example, how could we be convinced that Clay, seemingly so independent as played by Fonda, would overnight fall for Jesse and make plans to marry her in a fortnight's time? I mean, this important conversation between them took place off-screen too. Maybe the director couldn't make it seem convicting if we actually heard them discussing this! And it was incredibly important to the plot because it led to Clay and Morgan's estrangement (break-up?) and then Morgan's break-down.
If it had been pruned by 30 mins. and tightened up this could have been a great
Observations: Tom Drake especially in voice reminds me of Liam Neeson. A pity he didn't get to play in more movies.
Extraordinary number of blue-eyed actors in leading roles. Was it a prerequisite!