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GARY LOCKWOOD IN 'FIRECREEK' STARRING JAMES STEWART

The same year he'd battle a computer in outer space, Gary Lockwood was grounded in FIRECREEK Year: 1968
With raging killer biker movies all the counter-culture rage, Westerns during the 1960's and 1970's became far more dark and violent, and yet, some still followed the old John Ford wide-landscape look and feel without conforming to the edgy-sparse vibe of the Spaghetti Western — in full background display for FIRECREEK where a gang of subtle yet vicious marauding riders ride into a small town that's literally a main street, and hardly even that...

Where James Stewart plays a humble farmer and passive substitute sheriff in a title town "taken over" in a passive-aggressive fashion, where much of the suspense relies on the implied threat rather than a barrage of violence, that occurs at the climax: a worthy wait after particularly overlong scenes where the good guys ponder their lives in existential "is this all there is?" dialogue.
Brooke Bundy, James Best, Morgan Woodward, Gary Lockwood, Jack Elam and Henry Fonda in Firecreek
And it's Gary Lockwood as the most randy of this wild bunch (initially almost raping ingenue Brooke Bundy, daughter of tough single mother Louise Latham, midwife to Stewart's pregnant wife, Jacqueline Scott): He steals the show by holding back the most formidable strength, building up before our eyes with nail-biting, religion-loathing menace...

Meanwhile, Stewart's real life friend Henry Fonda, the same year he played the seething head honcho in Sergio Leone's epic ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, is in charge here too, kind of, yet far more constrained and with a sharper, more fleshed-out performance, as he too, like the audience, remains poised for an outcome he has no control over...
James Dean doppelganger Robert Porter and James Stewart in FIRECREEK Rates: ****
Holed-up and healing from a mysterious gunshot in a B&B bedroom with tragic Swedish beauty Inger Stevens, on the outside veteran counterpart Stewart must protect his young sons and a different kind of village idiot in James Dean-lookalike Robert Porter, who, even more than the other proverbial sheep/townspeople, hasn't got a prayer to Fonda's minions, left to their own rowdy devices...

All the hopeful power resides in the rather hopeless Stewart, managing a fine performance without having to try very hard, and yet, without going through the motions. But the most fun's anticipating the bad guys, also including instigating rascal Jack Elam, slowburn Morgan Woodward and wild-card bumpkin James Best. Basically, FIRECREEK is a lit fuse, burning around a corner, unseen and unsure of just how much remains to sizzle.
Gary Lockwood, Morgan Woodward, James Best, Jack Elam and Henry Fonda open FIRECREEK
Jack Elam and Morgan Woodward in FIRECREEK
Gary Lockwood in FIRECREEK
Robert Porter in FIRECREEK
Robert Porter in FIRECREEK
James Stewart in FIRECREEK
"Ain't nothin' like a dollar change a female's way of thinkin'." Brooke Bundy, Firecreek
Brooke Bundy in FIRECREEK
Henry Fonda and Inger Stevens in FIRECREEK
Gary Lockwood in FIRECREEK
Morgan Woodward, James Best, Jack Elam and Gary Lockwood in FIRECREEK
Gary Lockwood, James Best, Morgan Woodward, Jack Elam and Henry Fonda in Firecreek
The same year he battled a computer in outer space, Gary Lockwood grounded himself as a villain in FIRECREEK
Gary Lockwood in FIRECREEK
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