7.7/10
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Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 15 May 1955 (Japan)
Trailer
2:02 | Trailer
A one-armed stranger comes to a tiny town possessing a terrible past they want to keep secret, by violent means if necessary.

Director:

John Sturges

Writers:

Millard Kaufman (screen play), Don McGuire (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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 Walter Beaver ... Cafe Lounger (unconfirmed)
Billy Dix Billy Dix ... Cafe Lounger (unconfirmed)
Mickey Little Mickey Little ... Cafe Lounger (unconfirmed)
K.L. Smith 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:

M-G-M's SUSPENSE STORY OF THE YEAR! (original print ad - mostly caps) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie had three previews in the fall of 1954. The first two screened the film as originally conceived, without the aerial train shots or opening music that were later added, beginning with a shot of Macreedy stepping off the Streamliner train and walking down the main street of Black Rock, accompanied only by the sound of the wind. There was also a cutaway to the depot clock, as in High Noon (1952), the movie to which this is most often compared. Many in the audience at the first preview thought the opening was too abrupt and at least 25% of them commented that they wouldn't recommend the picture to anyone (this percentage was higher among women viewers). The film did slightly better in the second preview, but it was clear it wasn't working without music and no lead-in to the opening scene in the remote town. Associate producer Herman Hoffman came up with the idea of beginning with aerial shots of the train speeding through the desert. See more »

Goofs

Obvious stunt driver for Spencer Tracy during the chase with Coley. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Second Train Conductor: What's all the excitement? What happened?
John J. Macreedy: A shooting.
Second Train Conductor: Thought it was something. First time the Streamliner's stopped here in four years.
John J. Macreedy: Second time.
See more »

Alternate Versions

To receive an 'A' (PG) certificate in 1955 the UK cinema version was subject to heavy BBFC cuts. These included Macreedy striking Hector with the brass fire hose nozzle and the climactic shots of Reno on fire. Later TV showings and video releases were fully uncut. See more »

Connections

Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: Robert Wagner (2006) See more »

User Reviews

 
Fine modern Western in which the events crackle with intrigue and suspense
29 June 2011 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Southern Pacific train express stops in Black Rock . One-armed John J. Macreedy (Spencer Tracy) alights at Black Rock from train express in order to give a medal to the last known relative, Komoko who died five years ago , of a deceased Japanese-American army officer named Joe. His attempts to do so will confront him against the entire little town including the Sheriff (Dean Jagger) himself , a hotel receptionist (John Ericson) , a doctor (Walter Brennan) , the powerful Smith (Robert Ryan)and two thugs ( Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine) , among them . Macreedy attempts to investigate the killing a Japanese farmer that happened shortly after the attack on the Pearl Harbor, the unconditional surrender of Japan, and the resultant hatred towards Japanese-Americans , including the events from Bataan and Corregidor .John suffers a strong hostility and hatred by the inhabitants and neighbours. McReedy uncovering up a terrible secret and being threatened ; attempts will be made to run him off the road while driving ; he will be chased , and the telephone operator will deny to connect him to the Police Station ; the Railway Station's employee will not dispatch a telegram ; meantime the local Mortician will warn him that he should aware for his death by nightfall. While, McReedy tries to go Adobe Flat to find the Kamako corpse and finally is helped by some villagers.

This interesting movie contains marvelous performances from all concerned , suspense , thrills , exciting situations and some action . Based on the novel by Howard Breslin and well adapted by Millard Kauffman who takes a fine material , this is a suspenseful film in which Spencer Tracy plays magnificently as an easy Italian war veteran coming to a township called Black Rock that seems to be hiding a guilty secret . However , too much conversation and too little action bogs down this modern Western , although the argument and intrigue is nice . There are excellent acting from some Hollywood's best players , including prestigious secondaries as Lee Marvin , Ernest Borgnine , Dean Jagger , among others . Thrilling and exciting musical score by Andre Previn who subsequently married Mia Farrow . Colorful cinematography utilizing the new Cinemascope technique by William C Mellor . This ¨Sui Generis¨modern Western is originally directed by John Sturges . He was an expert on Western genre as proved in ¨ Escape from Fort Bravo , The law and Jake Wade , The last train of Gun Hill, The Magnificent seven, Hour of gun , Joe Kidd , The Hallelujah trail ¨ and many others . Rating : Better than average . Worthwhile watching .


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 May 1955 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Bad Day at Hondo See more »

Filming Locations:

Mojave Desert, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,271,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,813
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm optical prints) (Western Electric Sound System)| 4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints)

Color:

Color (Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »

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