A year after a violent train robbery the Pinkerton detective agency hires a bounty hunter to find the three remaining killers. He tracks them to Twin Forks but has no clue to their identity... See full summary »
André De Toth
Commander James Ferraday, USN, has new orders: get David Jones, a British civilian, Captain Anders, a tough Marine with a platoon of troops, Boris Vasilov, a friendly Russian, and the crew ... 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.
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
According to one biographer of Spencer Tracy, the script did not originally call for the lead character to be a one-armed man. The producers were keen to get Tracy but didn't think he'd be interested, so they gave the character this disability with the idea that no actor can resist playing a character with a physical impairment. See more »
When Macreedy tries to escape town with Liz, he doesn't have his suitcase. See more »
[after Liz provided directions to Komoko's farm to Macreedy, who gave her $10]
You shouldn't have done that.
I thought it would be better if he went out there and got done with it. What can he find out? I wouldn't do anything to hurt you, Reno, you know that.
This is liable to be the hardest ten dollars you ever earned in your life.
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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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