By Raymond Benson
Although the picture takes place a couple of months after the end of World War II in the year 1945, Bad Day at Black Rock is really a western. The setting is a desert town that’s barely a whistle stop for a train that hasn’t halted there in four years; the main street looks as if it’s right out of Dodge City, and the opening credits are designed in big, colorful, bold words that spread across the wide CinemaScope screen. Even director John Sturges is primarily known for his many westerns.
Good Guy Spencer Tracy rides into town—on that train—and is met with inexplicable hostility from everyone he meets. All he wants is to find a guy named Komoko—a Japanese farmer who supposedly lives just out of town. Most of the residents seem afraid to help Tracy. The ones who