From the time John J. Macreedy steps off the train in Black Rock, he feels a chill from the local residents. The town is only a speck on the map and few if any strangers ever come to the place. Macreedy himself is tight-lipped about the purpose of his trip and he finds that the hotel refuses him a room, the local garage refuses to rent him a car and the sheriff is a useless drunkard. It's apparent that the locals have something to hide but when he finally tells them that he is there to speak to a Japanese-American farmer named Kamoko, he touches a nerve so sensitive that he will spend the next 24 hours fighting for his life. Written by
The suit that Spencer Tracy wears throughout the film was bought by him off the rack, at his insistence. See more »
At the climax of the film, Macreedy is attempting to use his tie as the 'fuse' for a fire-bomb. Though his 'dead' arm remains stuffed in his jacket pocket, he clearly uses its hand when tearing the tie. See more »
Spencer Tracy heads a great cast in this much-admired drama that takes place in the west. It's a rare treat to see Tracy and Robert Ryan in the same film, with scenes together. Two truly top-notch veterans, with exemplary career acting achievements.
The tight script, solid directing (by John Sturges), a powerful score (by Andre Previn) and outstanding Cinemascope photography combine to elevate "Bad Day at Black Rock" to a place among the great films.
One really cannot fully apprecitate this film on a regular size pan-and-scan screen, and even the letterboxed version doesn't adequately convey the impact of its original Cinemascope moviehouse presentation. One only can try today to imagine the original. Yet, a fine film can overcome format, and "Bad Day" still packs a whopper punch.
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