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Firecreek


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Firecreek was just an on demand movie on my cable system, one of the free movies. I must've watched it a half a dozen times. Enjoyable. Veteran desperado Larkin (Fonda) and his band of fellow criminals come upon the isolated hamlet of Firecreek. Two of the fun guys ride on ahead and say hello to a comely Brooke Bundy by a river bank, spook her a might getting her dress all wet and Fonda makes Gary Lockwood give her a dollar for her trouble. Gary Lockwood is the best thing about this movie. From beginning to end he's the chief smartass in the bunch. They ride in and storekeep Dean Jagger is snoozin' in his rocking chair. He's the sage wise man of the hamlet. There's a town idiot named Arthur played by a James Dean lookalike. Lone indian gal Barbara Luna with her white baby attracts the attention of Fonda's boys. Farmer-sheriff Johnny Cobb (Jimmy Stewart) is on hand as the hero. His wife who is expecting is played by Jacqueline Scott who always is cast as a mother for some reason, is on hand and out of town. Always a stalwart actress. She was Richard Kimble's sister-in-law and Cliff Robertson's girlfriend in The Galaxy Being. No other actress has played so many mothers. Also on hand for the fun is Morgan Woodward and the always colorful Jack Elam and unsung James Best is the dumbest of Larkin's men. They ride in for a short respite but things turn out otherwise. Fonda gets the nurse routine from Inger Stevens while his boys look the place over a might. Perennially stern and grouchy Ed Begley rides in as a preacher just to antagonize Lockwood..and he does. All the while Drew keeps thinking about that indian gal. It gets dark then Lockwood and Best play bullfighter in a one-room saloon which makes some noise which disturbs Johnny Cobb who tells 'em to keep it down a might. Drew gets itchy and pays a call on that indian gal and town idiot Arthur just can't go to bed. He grabs Drew's gun, squeezes the trigger a might too hard and Drew gets a bullet threw the chest from behind. He drops immediately dead and Larkin's boys wanna know what happened. Larkin sees the indecisiveness of Cobb and lets his boys roust the town for "an old-fashioned wake". Morgan Woodward decides to get involved and commences to sing out some charming rustic lyrics about a back wheel draggin' and jaybirds walking on frozen ground. Very nice. About this time storekeep Jagger advises Stewart to mind his own business complacency being the best policy. John Qualen rides in about Cobb's missus and Cobb promptly rides out leaving the situation to go downhill after he's gone. The movie then omits the rest of the nite time events. Cobb rides back in next morning and finds James Dean lookalike Arthur hung in the barn then pontificates to Jagger a bit and gets his gun. Woodward gets dragged outta town by a runaway horse and Cobb sticks Elam in the gut with a pitchfork and gets Lockwood thru the floor with his gun...and the ending I don't like. This would make a nice double bill along with Welcome to Hard Times

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I've always thought it a decent and enjoyable movie. Not too deep but good performances with a veteran cast help.

 

Jagger and Stewart are especially good. I remember being younger and seeing this and the whole funeral scene with Best used to creep me out. It's a lot of bother for one little town but guys get bored and that makes trouble.

 

I've always admired Fonda for his western trio from this time. With this one and "Once Upon A Time In The West" and "Cheyenne Social Club" it showed such a wide and wonderful range of characters. He pulls all of them off well. From Frank to Harley is a huge gap.

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WELCOME TO HARD TIMES is good, and so is THE ROUNDERS.

 

FIRECREEK has excellent production values, but Stewart seems too long in the tooth at this point for such a role. I kept finding myself wanting to see Gary Lockwood in the lead, or even Burt Reynolds.

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Firecreek was produced by the team responsible for the later years of Gunsmoke, and that's what it comes across as -- a padded Gunsmoke episode, though with higher production values. There's not much story momentum, but the incidental structure does provide a few memorable moments (such as James Best's "funeral"). The climax is also not bad.

 

Robert Porter, as the simple-minded stable boy, is a serious challenger to Christopher Jones in the James Dean lookalike contest.

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Sorry RK, I missed this film's showing, and I can't find a picture on the internet of this Robert Porter you talk of to see how much like a Dean lookalike he was.

 

So tell me, did he resemble Dean more than Michael Parks(of "Then Came Bronson" fame) did, also?

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> {quote:title=Dargo2 wrote:}{quote}Sorry RK, I missed this film's showing, and I can't find a picture on the internet of this Robert Porter you talk of to see how much like a Dean lookalike he was.

>

> So tell me, did he resemble Dean more than Michael Parks(of "Then Came Bronson" fame) did, also?

>

IMHO Robert Porter resembles Dean far more than Parks does (in looks anyway -- Parks may take the prize in manner).

 

You can kinda see Porter briefly here:

http://tinyurl.com/knnah47

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Thanks, RK. I see what ya mean. From just those quick shots of him there, I'd say he does look a lot like Dean.

 

(...saaay...maybe bein' "The Next James Dean" wasn't that good for a young man's acting career, eh?!...I mean, it sure didn't seem to help this kid Porter's career OR Parks' OR Jones' shot at stardom much either, huh! ;) ...though I HAVE heard that at least in Parks' case, he pretty much sabotaged his own career by being impossible to work with on a few too many sets)

 

Edited by: Dargo2 on Aug 12, 2013 12:01 PM

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