Cattle baron Matt Devereaux raids a copper smelter that is polluting his water, then divides his property among his sons. Son Joe takes responsibility for the raid and gets three years in ... See full summary »
A germ warfare lab has had an accident. The first theory is that one of the nasty germs has gotten free and killed several scientists. The big fear is that a more virulent strain, named The... See full summary »
A crusading reporter plans his own arrest and conviction for first degree murder, trying to show that the death sentence should be outlawed when based on circumstantial evidence alone, but his plan goes awry.
The temperamental Carol Maldon leaves New York behind to take control of her father's stable, she inherited. Rick Grayton is a horse racing trainer who lucked into training a champ, the ... See full summary »
Michael Worthington, an elderly owner of an apiary, befriends an embittered artist, Jamie McFarlaine, who is seeking a divorce from his wife. Jamie falls in love with Alice, but the romance... See full summary »
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
At the end of the movie, Tracy arrives at the station and sets down his suitcase. When the train pulls into the station, long shot shows he is holding it again, next close up, it is again on the ground. See more »
Sheriff Tim Horn:
Let Smith find himself a new boy. I can't take it another day. Four years ago, if I'd of done my job, if I'd of checked up and found out what happened. But I didn't! It was just like Smith figured... I didn't even try to find out. Don't you understand? You know, when you wear this badge, you're the Law. And when somebody does something against the Law, then you're supposed to do something about it. Me - I did nothin'. That's what's eatin' me. What kind of prescription you got for that?
I don't ...
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John Sturges directed this quintessentially tight-constructed masterpiece. This is how it was done in the good old days: nothing falls by the wayside. Tight, clear characterizations, with minimalist dialog, costume, manner, and facial expression all reflecting the inner lives of people in their self-constructed hell. Check out how Hector (Lee Marvin) uses the word "boy" to suggest racial overtones well in advance of the slowly-revealed background plot; how Macreedy (Spencer Tracy) in his dark suit and no-nonsense manner contrasts with everyone else's casual dress and edginess, perfectly reflecting his role as avenging angel; how Coley (Ernest Borgnine), trying to run Macreedy off the road, resembles (probably unintentionally) Joe McCarthy, especially as caricatured by Walt Kelly; and of course how the arch-villain, Reno Smith (Robert Ryan), suggests limitless power with his inimitable smirk and almost languid movements: he controls the town without actually doing anything overt--until Macreedy forces his hand. Nicely turned performances by other major players, too: Dean Jagger (the drunkard Sheriff Tim), Anne Frances (nervous Liz), and Walter Brennan (loquacious, self-justifying Doc). The suggestion that one man can--literally single-handedly--make a moral difference is inspiring (and how that one hand utterly confounds Coley is a nifty, low-key precursor of Bruce Lee-inspired acrobatics). This is a keeper.
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