IMDb > Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Bad Day at Black Rock
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Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 21 | slideshow) Videos (see all 2)
Bad Day at Black Rock -- Spencer Tracy received his fifth Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a one-armed stranger who arrives at a small Southwestern town shortly after WWII in pursuit of a Japanese farmer.
Bad Day at Black Rock -- Trailer for this mystery

Overview

User Rating:
7.8/10   14,255 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 65% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Millard Kaufman (screen play)
Don McGuire (adaptation)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Bad Day at Black Rock on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 January 1955 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
Suddenly you realize murder is at your elbow! - and there's no way out! See more »
Plot:
A one-handed stranger comes to a tiny town possessing a terrible past they want to keep secret, by violent means if necessary. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Hateful subject given a master class telling. See more (139 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Spencer Tracy ... John J. Macreedy

Robert Ryan ... Reno Smith

Anne Francis ... Liz Wirth

Dean Jagger ... Tim Horn

Walter Brennan ... Doc Velie

John Ericson ... Pete Wirth

Ernest Borgnine ... Coley Trimble

Lee Marvin ... Hector David

Russell Collins ... Mr. Hastings

Walter Sande ... 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)
Robert Griffin ... Second Train Conductor (uncredited)

Harry Harvey ... First Train Conductor (uncredited)
Bobby Johnson ... One of Two Porters (uncredited)
Francis McDonald ... Tall - White-haired Cafe Lounger (uncredited)

Directed by
John Sturges 
 
Writing credits
Millard Kaufman (screen play)

Don McGuire (adaptation)

Howard Breslin (based on a story by)

Produced by
Herman Hoffman .... associate producer
Dore Schary .... producer
 
Original Music by
André Previn 
 
Cinematography by
William C. Mellor (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Newell P. Kimlin 
 
Art Direction by
Malcolm Brown 
Cedric Gibbons 
 
Set Decoration by
Fred M. MacLean (set decorations) (as Fred MacLean)
Edwin B. Willis (set decorations)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Joel Freeman .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Wesley C. Miller .... recording supervisor
Ed Haight .... sound editor (uncredited)
Kurt Hernfeld .... sound editor (uncredited)
Harold Humbrock .... sound editor (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Roger Creed .... stunt double: Spencer Tracy (uncredited)
Danny Sands .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Alvord Eiseman .... color consultant
 
Music Department
Leo Arnaud .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Alexander Courage .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Wally Heglin .... orchestrator (uncredited)
André Previn .... conductor (uncredited)
André Previn .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
John Indrisano .... judo instructor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production Companies
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) (controlled by Loew's Incorporated) (presents) (as M-G-M also) (A CinemaScope Production) (made in Hollywood, U.S.A. by)
DistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
81 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Eastman Color)
Aspect Ratio:
2.55 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (35 mm optical prints) (Western Electric Sound System) | 4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Finland:K-12 | New Zealand:PG | Norway:16 | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) (passed with cuts) | UK:PG (tv rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1993) (1994) | USA:Approved (MPAA rating: certificate #17184) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating) | USA:Passed (The National Board of Review) | West Germany:12 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Exteriors for this film (particularly the trip to "Adobe Flat") were filmed in and around Lone Pine, California (a location often used by other films). The Japanese farmer central to the plot was (supposedly) sent to an (unnamed) internment camp after Pearl Harbor. Coincidentally, Lone Pine is just five miles from Manzanar, the best known internment camp. Present-day visitors may inspect both the Alabama Hills and Manzanar locations.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: After the chase when Tracy is driving the Jeep he arrives in town with a very dusty suit coat. Walking to the garage his coat is clean with no dust.See more »
Quotes:
Reno Smith:I swear, you're beginning to make me mad.
John J. Macreedy:All strangers do, hmm?
Reno Smith:No, they don't. Not all of them. Some do, when they come around snooping...
John J. Macreedy:Snooping for what?
Reno Smith:I don't know, outsiders coming in, looking for something...
John J. Macreedy:Looking for what?
Reno Smith:I don't know! Somebody's always looking for something in this part of the West. To the historian it's the Old West, to the book writer it's the Wild West, to the businessman it's the Undeveloped West -- they say we're all poor and backward, and I guess we are, we don't even have enough water. But to us, this place is *our* West, and I wish they'd leave us alone!
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

Was the small town of Black Rock built for the movie or was it already in place?
See more »
9 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Hateful subject given a master class telling., 4 March 2008
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom

Produced by Dore Schary out of MGM, Bad Day at Black Rock is directed by John Sturges and stars Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Dean Jagger, Walter Brennan, John Ericson, Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin.It's adapted by Don McGuire and Millard Kaufman from the story Bad Day at Hondo by Howard Breslin. It's shot on location in CinemaScope and Eastman Color at Lone Pine, Death Valley & Alabama Hills in California, with William C. Mellor on photography and André Previn scoring the music.

A classy production that combines elements of Westerns and film noir, Bad Day at Black Rock deals with racism and all the hate and bully tactics that come with such a vile subject. It tells the story of a mysterious one armed stranger, John J. Macreedy (Tracy), who arrives at a tiny isolated town in a desert of the Southwest United States in search of a Japanese-American man. From the moment he arrives he is met with hostility and mistrust. Over the course of the day Macreedy picks apart the town to uncover the secret the townsfolk had hoped had gone away.

From the opening sequence of a bright red train rushing towards us, it's evident that we are in the modern day West. It's just after World War II and the horse trails of the old West are now frequented by jeeps and cars. Yet the hallmarks of the old West exists and thrives because of the inhabitants of Black Rock. An ignorant group of people consisting of bullies, drunks and the head in the sand softy type. Yet even tho the film is set mostly in the blazing sun, in a barren one horse Western town that time forgot, the film exudes a film noir sensibility. Dark secrets from the past weigh heavy on the shoulders of the towns big players: And Tracy's High Noon like situation is moodily paced by the wily Sturges. In fact that a film with so little "gun play" action can be so tense is no mean feat, with him yet again directing an ensemble cast to great effect.

Tracy is at his best when he is as he is here, playing subdued. Here he is a thinking man's protagonist, calm and reflective in the face of constant hostility. That he is facing an impressive line up of heavies really brings home just how thoughtful a performance Tracy gives in the piece. Robert Ryan does yet another fine turn as a complicated villain whose rage is bubbling away under the surface. While Borgnine and Marvin are memorably vile as his right hand thugs. Dean Jagger as the drunken cowardly sheriff manages to pang the heart and Walter Brennan is his usual solid impacting self. Anne Francis adds the glamour but really it's a nondescript role that the film could easily have survived without.

Clocking in at just 81 minutes the film never outstays its welcome. It looks great on DVD, and for those interested in commentary tracks, this one comes with a very good one from Dana Polan. Anyone who has not seen this film should try and seek it out. It was considered controversial back on release but now can be viewed as a smart message movie about racial tolerance. Tight, taut and expertly directed and acted, Bad Day At Black Rock is an important film from the 50s that still rings bells even today. 8/10

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Placement of Robert Ryan's left thumb at about 25 minutes into the movie buscamante2003
Strange things are afoot in Black Rock, Ted...... JPLogan54
This is just hype, isn't it? disinterested_spectator
Divulging information! Now that'll stop 'em. disinterested_spectator
Not my favorite movie. . miso5000
Smith - rejected due to failed physical ....... paule-rooney
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