Bad Day at Black Rock [VHS]
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Some favourite lines from the film:
Spencer Tracy (to train conductor): "Oh, I'll only be here for 24 hours". Train conductor: "In a place like this that could be a lifetime!".
Russell Collins (to Spencer Tracy): "Important? It's the first time the streamliner has stopped here in four years".
Tracy (to Ernest Borgnine): "You're not only wrong - you're wrong at the top of your voice!".
Dean Jagger (to Tracy): "This ain't no information bureau".
John Ericson (to Tracy): "If you're in such a hurry you should have never got off here". Tracy: "I'm inclined to agree with you".
A brilliant and satisfying film expertly directed by John Sturges who later went on to make other classics including "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral", "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Great Escape".Read more ›
The man is John Macreedy (Spencer Tracy), and what he's doing in Black Rock is slowly - very slowly - revealed. That presents a challenge for someone trying to write about the movie for someone who hasn't seen it. If ever a movie should be watched with an empty bucket of information it's BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK. Suffice it to say that many of the townspeople are less than thrilled to see the man-in-black stranger, and his soon-to-be chief nemesis, Reno Smith (Robert Ryan) makes it his business to see that the town's dirty past stays buried, by whatever means possible.
There's a lot more character interaction than straight out action in BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK. If Ryan's Reno represents an absolute evil, he's abetted by the corrupt (Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin, in particular), the apathetic (town doc Walter Brennan), and the used-up (town sheriff Dean Jagger.) Things change, though, and the ground upon which personal relationships are based tends to shift. Those who could abide the town's evil secret find their position less tenable the longer Macreedy sticks around, and BAD DAY takes great delight in chronicling the changes. As usual, Ryan is just right as the thoughtful bad guy. It's hard to find a movie Ryan was ever miscast in. The Macreedy role plays to Tracy's strength - in particular his ability to project moral righteousness without sermonizing.
Besides a trailer, the dvd carries a commentary track by film historian Dana Polan. I jotted down three of his comments, more or less at random: "This movie asks the question `what is the western in the modern age?Read more ›
Among many elements I admire are the three character actors: Russell Collins as the weak, cowardly telegraph agent, Dean Jagger as the played-out sheriff (his humiliation at the hands of Robert Ryan is unpleasant), and, most of all, Walter Brennan as the doctor who tries to push things but isn't dumb enough to push too hard. I think this was one of Brennan's last, really good roles before he turned himself into the toothless old coot or cackling grampa of his later films. In his prime, he was a fine actor. And for vicious bullies I don't think anyone has topped Lee Marvin and Ernest Bognine in their roles. I'd even eat my catsup without any chili at all to avoid a confrontation with these guys.
I have a lot of respect for Robert Ryan but find it sad that, despite a number of opportunities, he never was able to break into the top rank of stardom. Maybe he didn't really want that. Maybe he was too willing to play bad guys. Maybe he lacked some element of charisma or just ambition. He was a fine actor and, from reports, a nice guy.
The DVD transfer is excellent
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a great classic movie, told and shot well. Amazing cast. Time well spent, and a well told story tooPublished 1 month ago by L. E.
About the third time I've watched it; like the old movies the best.Published 1 month ago by John E.
This is a great movie. Excellent quality. It is a Korean issue with english language and korean subtitles on or off.Published 2 months ago by JCDeMer
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