Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Not Rated   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery


Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) Poster

A one-armed stranger comes to a tiny town possessing a terrible past they want to keep secret, by violent means if necessary.


7.8/10
17,497

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  • Anne Francis and John Ericson in Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
  • Spencer Tracy in Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
  • Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
  • Spencer Tracy and John Ericson in Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
  • Anne Francis in Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
  • "Bad Day at Black Rock" Ernest Borgnine 1955 MGM

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27 October 2005 | bkoganbing
9
| Spence licks the town with one arm
Bad Day at Black Rock turned out to be the final film that Spencer Tracy did on his MGM contract. The following year he was fired off the set of Tribute to a Bad Man and left MGM abruptly. Some reward for an actor who brought so much prestige to that studio.

Tracy gets off a train at a hole in the wall, whistlestop, speedtrap of a town called Black Rock located somewhere in the Mojave desert. He's looking for a Japanese farmer named Komoko who seems to have vanished. And the townspeople are downright unfriendly to the stranger.

It gradually dawns on Tracy that by probing about Komoko's whereabouts, he's stepped in one big festering pile and he's put himself in danger. What he does about it is the rest of the film.

John Sturges keeps the tension going here worthy of an Alfred Hitchcock film. In fact if Hitchcock had ever decided to do a western and was presented with Bad Day at Black Rock, I doubt he could do it any better. Certain arty Hitchcock touches are missing, but the suspense is there. Sturges was in fact nominated for Best Director.

As was Tracy nominated for Best Actor. He lost ironically to one of his fellow cast members Ernest Borgnine who copped the big prize for Marty. But in fact any one of the small cast could have been nominated. I'm not sure why chief villain Robert Ryan wasn't.

A fews years later John Sturges directed another film The Law and Jake Wade about Robert Taylor being held prisoner by Richard Widmark and his gang. There was a lot of suspense there as well, similar to Bad Day at Black Rock, as to whether Taylor would escape his predicament.

For a feature film in 1955 it is a rather short one, less than 90 minutes. But as Tracy said in another film, what there is is cherce.

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