Monday, February 22, 2010

Bad Day at Black Rock

This movie is an unheralded classic. I had never even heard of it until a few years ago when I first saw it on TCM. It is absolutely flawless.

Spencer Tracy (why haven't I seen more of his movies?) plays a one armed man who gets off the train in the middle of nowhere - a town named Black Rock. It is a nothing town out west. In fact, when he gets off the train, it is the fist time the train has even stopped there in four years. The year is 1945 and he's there to find a local Japanese farmer.

The locals don't take too kindly to the stranger and are quite suspicious of his intentions. They immediately start harassing him. That soon turns to outright threats and then real acts of violence.

Tracy's motive for being in town is eventually revealed. The bad guys (Robert Ryan, Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, and Anne Francis) conspire against him. The suspense is good, the Cinemascop is great, the social message is ahead of its time. A modern Western. A great movie.

Directed by John Sturges


mas said...

Yeah, this movie is awesome - I had never seen that poster before but now that I have, I wish Ernest Borgnine was on Mt. Rushmore.

lachima said...

i love this movie.

Listmaker said...


it was an embarrassment of riches of posters. there were at least 3 amazing ones to choose from.

Ivanomartin said...

I saw this the other night on TMC. Loved it too. Really enjoyed how it dances between genres...first western, then thriller, then a little film noir.

e. borgnine rules.

Listmaker said...

this is a movie that i should really see once a year. i assume this was the first time you had seen it?