7.8/10
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Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 15 May 1955 (Japan)
A one-armed stranger comes to a tiny town possessing a terrible past they want to keep secret, by violent means if necessary.

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Writers:

(screen play), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Sam
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Walter Beaver ...
Cafe Lounger (unconfirmed)
Billy Dix ...
Cafe Lounger (unconfirmed)
Mickey Little ...
Cafe Lounger (unconfirmed)
K.L. Smith ...
Cafe Lounger (unconfirmed)
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Just the way it happened! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 May 1955 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Bad Day at Hondo  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,271,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(35 mm optical prints) (Western Electric Sound System)| (35 mm magnetic prints)

Color:

(Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shortly before the film shoot began, Spencer Tracy said he had changed his mind and that he didn't want to do the movie. Dore Schary, his producer, said that that was OK by him, but that MGM would probably sue Tracy for the costs they had already made, which would total about $480.000. Tracy quickly changed his mind. See more »

Goofs

Clouds appear and disappear from shot to shot. For example, during the discussion scene on the railroad tracks about 27 minutes into the film, the clouds above the mountains at the tracks' vanishing point appear in wide shots and disappear in tight shots. See more »

Quotes

Pete Wirth: My memories are so pleasant as it is...
John J. Macreedy: It's gonna take an awful lot of whiskey to wash out your guts. Go on, go on! Swill it! What is there left for you to do? You're as dead as Komoko and you don't know it...
Pete Wirth: You don't have to remind me. I've never forgotten.
John J. Macreedy: Oh, isn't that noble of you. You haven't forgotten. And you're ashamed. That's really noble of you. I suppose four years from now, you'll be sitting around here telling people you haven't forgotten me either. That's real progress. In the...
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Connections

Referenced in Kojak: A Long Way from Times Square (1975) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Spence licks the town with one arm
27 October 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Bad Day at Black Rock turned out to be the final film that Spencer Tracy did on his MGM contract. The following year he was fired off the set of Tribute to a Bad Man and left MGM abruptly. Some reward for an actor who brought so much prestige to that studio.

Tracy gets off a train at a hole in the wall, whistlestop, speedtrap of a town called Black Rock located somewhere in the Mojave desert. He's looking for a Japanese farmer named Komoko who seems to have vanished. And the townspeople are downright unfriendly to the stranger.

It gradually dawns on Tracy that by probing about Komoko's whereabouts, he's stepped in one big festering pile and he's put himself in danger. What he does about it is the rest of the film.

John Sturges keeps the tension going here worthy of an Alfred Hitchcock film. In fact if Hitchcock had ever decided to do a western and was presented with Bad Day at Black Rock, I doubt he could do it any better. Certain arty Hitchcock touches are missing, but the suspense is there. Sturges was in fact nominated for Best Director.

As was Tracy nominated for Best Actor. He lost ironically to one of his fellow cast members Ernest Borgnine who copped the big prize for Marty. But in fact any one of the small cast could have been nominated. I'm not sure why chief villain Robert Ryan wasn't.

A fews years later John Sturges directed another film The Law and Jake Wade about Robert Taylor being held prisoner by Richard Widmark and his gang. There was a lot of suspense there as well, similar to Bad Day at Black Rock, as to whether Taylor would escape his predicament.

For a feature film in 1955 it is a rather short one, less than 90 minutes. But as Tracy said in another film, what there is is cherce.


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