Review: "Bad Day At Black Rock" (1955) Starring Spencer Tracy; Warner Archive Blu-ray Release

  • CinemaRetro
“Unwelcoming Committee”

By Raymond Benson

Although the picture takes place a couple of months after the end of World War II in the year 1945, Bad Day at Black Rock is really a western. The setting is a desert town that’s barely a whistle stop for a train that hasn’t halted there in four years; the main street looks as if it’s right out of Dodge City, and the opening credits are designed in big, colorful, bold words that spread across the wide CinemaScope screen. Even director John Sturges is primarily known for his many westerns.

Good Guy Spencer Tracy rides into town—on that train—and is met with inexplicable hostility from everyone he meets. All he wants is to find a guy named Komoko—a Japanese farmer who supposedly lives just out of town. Most of the residents seem afraid to help Tracy. The ones who
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Bad Day at Black Rock

Don’t mess with the one-armed man — did you know that at 56 years, Spencer Tracy could whup Ernest Borgnine to a frazzle? John Sturges knocked this one out of the ballpark and booted his career into high gear. It’s well remembered… but does anyone remember that the subject is the murder of a Japanese-American? It’s a combo social issue film And a tough guy western.

Bad Day at Black Rock


Warner Archive Collection

1955 / Color / 2:40:1 widescreen / 81 min. / Street Date January 17, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99

Starring Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Dean Jagger, Walter Brennan, John Ericson, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Marvin, Russell Collins, Walter Sande, Robert Griffin, Harry Harvey.

Cinematography William C. Mellor

Film Editor Newell P. Kimlin

Original Music André Previn

Written by Millard Kaufman, Don McGuire story by Howard Breslin

Produced by Dore Schary

Directed by John Sturges

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Warning to
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Casablanca Hero Goes Villainous in Film Noir The Scar

Paul Henreid: Hollow Triumph aka The Scar tonight Turner Classic Movies’ Paul Henreid film series continues this Tuesday evening, July 16, 2013. Of tonight’s movies, the most interesting offering is Hollow Triumph / The Scar, a 1948 B thriller adapted by Daniel Fuchs (Panic in the Streets, Love Me or Leave Me) from Murray Forbes’ novel, and in which the gentlemanly Henreid was cast against type: a crook who, in an attempt to escape from other (and more dangerous) crooks, impersonates a psychiatrist with a scar on his chin. Joan Bennett, mostly wasted in a non-role, is Henreid’s leading lady. (See also: “One Paul Henreid, Two Cigarettes, Four Bette Davis-es.”) The thriller’s director is Hungarian import Steve Sekely, whose Hollywood career consisted chiefly of minor B fare. In fact, though hardly a great effort, Hollow Triumph was probably the apex of Sekely’s cinematic output in terms of prestige
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Oren Moverman Attached to Direct The Big Blow; Ridley Scott to Produce

Oren Moverman Attached to Direct The Big Blow; Ridley Scott to Produce
Oren Moverman's star has continued to rise since The Messenger and Rampart (along with his assorted screenwriter-only credits), and he's eyeing a variety of projects for his next movie.  According to The Playlist, one of the films in the mix is The Big Blow, a complex drama with intertwining plot threads that revolve around the devastating September 4, 1900 hurricane in Gavelston, Texas.  Ridley and Tony Scott's Scott Free production company has had the rights to Joe Lansdale's novella for almost a decade.  A few years ago, Moverman was brought on to do further work on the late Millard Kaufman's screenplay, and now Moverman has moved into the director's chair. Hit the jump for more details on the project. Moverman tells The Playlist, "I mean, I know where it is physically, it's with Ridley Scott's company, and Giannina Facio is producing it [but] it's a tough movie to make.
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Oren Moverman Attached To Direct Turn Of The Century Pic 'The Big Blow'

Working in Hollywood requires skill, luck and sometimes, a helluva lot of patience. First picked up by Ridley and Tony Scott's Scott Free banner nearly a decade ago, Joe Lansdale's novella "The Big Blow" has been taking a slow and steady path to the big screen. Millard Kaufman ("Gun Crazy," "Bad Day At Black Rock") was first hired to adapt the story (sadly, he passed away in 2009) and a few years down the line, writer/director Oren Moverman was brought on to do further work. And while he's been busy on a plethora of other projects (as he usually is) bringing "The Messenger" and "Rampart" to the big screen, and writing "I'm Not There" for Todd Haynes, it seems "The Big Blow" is in the mix for his next effort behind the camera. The Playlist's own Jen Vineyard caught up with Moverman recently, and he revealed that the
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Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, Debbie Reynolds Set For TCM Classic Film Festival In April

Passes Now on Sale Now for Four-Day Festival,

Coming to Hollywood April 12-15, 2012

Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, Debbie Reynolds and “Baby PeggyDiana Serra Cary, along with film noir leading ladies Peggy Cummins, Rhonda Fleming and Marsha Hunt are the latest stars scheduled to appear at the 2012 TCM Classic Film Festival.

Also announced today, the festival will feature the North American premiere of a new 75th anniversary restoration of Jean Renoir’s powerful Pow drama Grand Illusion (1937), widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. And the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra will provide a live musical accompaniment for a screening of the silent Douglas Fairbanks fantasy-adventure The Thief of Bagdad (1924).

Minnelli and Grey are slated to join TCM’s own Robert Osborne to kick off the four-day, star-studded event with a gala opening-night world premiere screening of the 40th anniversary restoration Cabaret (1971), the film for which the
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TCM Classic Film Festival To Celebrate 100th Anniversary Of Paramount Pictures

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has unveiled additional programming and events for the 2012 edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival, including a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Paramount Pictures. Robert Evans, longtime producer and former head of production for Paramount, is set to take part in the tribute, which will focus on the studio’s 1970s renaissance. In addition, the TCM Classic Film Festival is slated to include a look at The Noir Style, a tribute to legendary costume designer Travis Banton, a look at art deco in the movies, a collection of early cinematic rarities and much more.

TCM.s own Robert Osborne will once again serve as official host for the four-day, star-studded event, which will take pace Thursday, April 12 . Sunday, April 15, 2012, in Hollywood. Passes are on sale now through the official festival website:

The Paramount Renaissance

The TCM Classic Film Festival will
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The War Lord | DVD review

Charlton Heston plays a Norman knight in this impressive costume drama set in 11th-century France

Director Franklin J Schaffner (1920-1989) went into TV immediately after service during the second world war with the Us Navy and built a considerable reputation during New York's golden age of live TV drama before turning to the cinema with a succession of intelligent, visually striking pictures. Patton is most famous, but before that he had two happy collaborations with Charlton Heston on Planet of the Apes and the less well-known The War Lord. In the latter, a highly impressive costume drama set in 11th-century France, Heston (right) plays a Norman knight going dangerously astray when assigned to a remote garrison on the fringe of Europe, where Christianity confronts paganism. The literate script is by British novelist John Collier and Millard Kaufman (author of Bad Day at Black Rock), the music is by Jerome Moross
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Veterans of Cancelled TV Shows That We Lost in March 2009

We were forced to say goodbye to several veterans of the TV shows from the past. Some are well known to the public and some are not. Either way, the medium of television wouldn't be the same without their contributions.

They include Ron Silver (Chicago Hope, Law & Order, Crossing Jordan, Rhoda, and The West Wing), Alan Livingston (creator of Bozo The Clown), Morton Lachman (The Red Skelton Show, Sanford, All In The Family, Gimme A Break, and Kate & Allie), Millard Kaufman (Mister Magoo), Harry Harris (Fame, Gunsmoke, Kung Fu, Lost In Space, Hawaii Five-o, Falcon Crest, and 7th Heaven, and Andy Hallett (Angel, Buffy The Vampire Slayer). Here are the details...

Ron Silver, 62, passed away on March 15th after a two-year battle with esophageal cancer. A veteran of many movies (Reversal Of Fortune) and Broadway plays (Speed the Plow), television audiences know the talented actor from Chicago Hope, Law & Order,
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Mr. Magoo Co-Creator Dies

  • WENN
Mr. Magoo Co-Creator Dies
The Oscar-nominated screenwriter who co-created the cartoon character Mr. Magoo has passed away.

Millard Kaufman was 92 when he died of heart failure on Saturday in Los Angeles.

Kaufman first conceived the short-sighted, clumsy Mr. Magoo with animator John Hubley for their 1949 theatrical short Ragtime Bear.

That film was a box office success, and the co-creators subsequently handed over the series to director Pete Burness, who won two Oscars with the 1955 film When Magoo Flew and 1956's Magoo's Puddle Jumper.

Kaufman later went on to write the World War II boot camp drama Take The High Ground, which earned him a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award nomination in 1954; his second Oscar nod came for his Western film Bad Day At Black Rock two years later.

He also tried his hand at penning novels, publishing his first effort Bowl Of Cherries in 2007. His second novel Misadventure will be released posthumously this autumn.

Kaufman is survived by Lorraine, his wife of 66 years, two daughters, a son and seven grandchildren.

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