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Firecreek (1968)

Firecreek poster

Henry Fonda played a western villain in two films released in 1968 – one was the classic Once Upon a Time in the West. This is the other one. He leads a gang of hired killers from the North Range Wars into a tiny settlement of spineless people led by part-time Sheriff James Stewart whose wife is about to have their third child. The women are all on a spectrum of femininity ranging from hard-bitten widow and midwife to trampy teenager, with a love-starved Inger Stevens giving shelter to the crims’ leader, Fonda, who is suffering from a gunshot wound. His gang are challenged by the village simpleton, J. Robert Porter, and he suffers accordingly. It takes a village of losers … but it’s only Stewart who rises to the problem, until a surprising intervention totally twists the ending.  The cult value of this film resides in two performances, that by Porter, who died on my birthday, two years ago; and Inger Stevens’, whose mysterious death is in no way related to her then-boyfriend, Burt Reynolds. This is kinda like watching High Noon through a saturated prism with added Ford. TV veterans Calvin Clements wrote, and Vincent McEveety directed this, their first film for the big screen.

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About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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