Review: ‘Bad Day at Black Rock’

Considerable excitement is whipped up in this suspense drama, and fans who go for tight action will find it entirely satisfactory. Besides telling a yarn of tense suspense, the picture is concerned with a social message on civic complacency.

Considerable excitement is whipped up in this suspense drama, and fans who go for tight action will find it entirely satisfactory. Besides telling a yarn of tense suspense, the picture is concerned with a social message on civic complacency.

Basis for the smoothly valued production is a story by Howard Breslin, adapted by Don McGuire. To the tiny town of Black Rock, one hot summer day in 1945, comes Spencer Tracy, war veteran with a crippled left arm. He wants to find a Japanese farmer and give to him the medal won by his son in an action that left the latter dead and Tracy crippled. Tracy is greeted with an odd hostility and his own life is endangered when he puts together the reason for the cold, menacing treatment.

Film is paced to draw suspense tight and keep expectancy mounting as the plot crosses the point where Tracy could have left without personal danger and plunges him into deadly menace when he becomes the hunted.

There’s not a bad performance from any member of the cast, each socking their characters for full value.

1955: Nominations: Best Director, Actor (Spencer Tracy), Screenplay

Bad Day at Black Rock

Production

M-G-M. Director John Sturges; Producer Dore Schary; Screenplay Millard Kaufman; Camera William C. Mellor; Editor Newell P. Kimlin; Music Andre Previn; Art Director Cedric Gibbons, Malcolm Brown

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1954. Running time: 81 MIN.

With

Spencer Tracy Robert Ryan Anne Francis Dean Jagger Walter Brennan Ernest Borgnine

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