Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

This essential drama (from Howard Breslin’s story) stars Spencer Tracy as John J. Macreedy a man alone who’s trying to uncover a secret about what happened to an "old friend" in the titled remote Western town. His performance was Oscar nominated; director John Sturges and screenwriter Millard Kaufman (Take the High Ground! (1953)) also received nominations. Robert Ryan plays Reno Smith the leader among the tough guys that "rule" the town (and want to protect that secret); his minions are Coley Trimble (Ernest Borgnine) and Hector David (Lee Marvin). Local citizens like the young attractive Liz Smith (Anne Francis) the old Doc Velie (Walter Brennan) and the drunken Sheriff Tom Horn (Dean Jagger) find themselves caught in between Reno whom they fear and helping Macreedy whom they recognize as the only honest decent man they’ve seen in these parts for a while. Macreedy’s pretty tough in his own right a veteran who fairs pretty well despite the fact that he’s only got one arm (due to the war). The tension builds throughout this thriller with multiple conflicts before the final showdown. Tracy’s last picture with MGM was also the studio’s first Cinemascope effort.

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