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
Spencer Tracy had a hard time with the heat and altitude, exacerbated by his high blood pressure and, according to Anne Francis, being on the wagon, which she said "added to his irritability." 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 »
Mr. Hastings, Telegrapher:
Sure you don't want some lemonade? It don't have the muzzle velocity of some other drinks drunk around here, but it's good for what ails you.
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A film of rare economy, elegance and stillness. Pretentious as it may sound, there's a perfect balance of tension and space about this film. Not a word or scene or character is wasted or unnecessary.
The other reviewers here give a plot outline and performance details. Tracy dominates the picture, his black and white appearance setting out the clarity of his moral position. The other main presence in this classic picture is the silence. Sturges SHOWS us silence, and what denial can do to a community.
I'd just like to make a recommendation to those who think that great cinema need sound and action - watch Bad Day at Black Rock, and sink yourself into its opening emptiness and cut-to-the-bone story.
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