Movies Bad Day At Black Rock (1955, Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan) Published 5 months ago on September 21, 2018 In Bad Day At Black Rock one-armed stranger John J Macreedy (Spencer Tracy, in one of his finest roles) becomes the first passenger in four years to disembark from the Santa Fe express at the small southwestern desert town of Black Rock. The year is 1945 and he’s come to the town to find a Japanese farmer and present him with his son’s posthumous war medal. But wherever he turns for help, he’s met by hostility and violence from the locals, including town ‘boss’ Reno Smith (Robert Ryan), Coley Trimble (Ernest Borgnine) and Hector David (Lee Marvin), who are determined to prevent him from discovering the fate of the man he is looking for. Doggedly, Macreedy sets out to uncover the truth and mete out rough justice to those responsible for what happened to the farmer, helped only by Liz Wirth (Anne Francis) and Doc Velie (Walter Brennan). Bad Day at Black Rock combines suspense and melodrama with a powerful comment on social responsibility. Tracy, as catalyst and instigator of the action, is superb but, as Variety wrote, ‘there’s not a bad performance from any member of the cast, each one socking their characters for full value. In addition to Tracy and Robert Ryan, credit goes to Anne Francis, Dean Jagger, Walter Brennan, John Ericson, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Marvin, Russell Collins and Walter Sande.’ Scoring heavily, too, was director John Sturges, whose handling was an exemplary demonstration of the art of building and maintaining tension, atmosphere and character. His deployment of William C Mellor’s Cinemascope colour camera made maximum use of his bleached location around Lone Pine, a desolate town on the western rim of California’s Death Valley, and he used Andre Previn’s score to excellent effect. production details USA | 81 minutes | 1955 Director: John Sturges Writer: Willard Kaufman, adapted by Don McGuire, from a story by Howard Breslin cast Robert Ryan as Reno Smith Lee Marvin as Hector David John Ericson as Pete Wirth Walter Sande as Sam Walter Brennan as Doc T.R. Velie Jr. Dean Jagger as Tim Horn Anne Francis as Liz Wirth Spencer Tracy as John J. Macreedy Ernest Borgnine as Coley Trimble Russell Collins as Mr. Hastings Billy Dix as Cafe Lounger K.L. Smith as Cafe Lounger Robert Griffin as Second Train Conductor Harry Harvey as First Train Conductor Bobby Johnson as One of Two Porters Francis McDonald as Tall – White-haired Cafe Lounger Anne FrancisBilly DixCrimeDean JaggerDramaErnest BorgnineJohn EricsonK.L. 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BRITISH FILM 1930-1990The Viewer's Guide to British Film 1930-1990 Indepth guide to six decades of cinema in the UK.