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Author Topic: Bad Day At Black Rock (1955)  (Read 8452 times)
cigar joe
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« on: August 20, 2006, 08:42:22 PM »

Not a bad modern western saw it today on TCM Dir. by John Sturgis, with Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Marvin, Walter Brennan, Anne Francis, and others.

Shot in the Mojave Desert with some surrealistic effects, reminded me of paintings by John Hopper, check it out if you haven't seen it.

Ernest Borgnine is at his trademark antics, enjoyed it.


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Juan Miranda
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2006, 08:55:24 PM »

Not bad!?! One of the best ever modern "westerns", with Lee Marvin on the cusp of his transitional acting style - going from lunk to method, and Spencer Tracy in my fave role for that guy. The way he demolishes both Marvin and Ernie Borgnine is great wish fulfillment cinema.

Incidently, I say Ernie at the National Film Theatre a couple of years ago, and he said the film was shot in a little desert town called Lone Pine, if anybody wants to go and shoot some photos?

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cigar joe
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2006, 08:59:09 PM »

Lone Pine is where most of the Boetticher Westerns were filmed, you are right its a great little film. Cool

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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2006, 02:07:49 AM »

The way he demolishes both Marvin and Ernie Borgnine is great wish fulfillment cinema.
And with one arm i believe! Shocked

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Tim
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2006, 11:09:55 AM »

Quote
And with one arm i believe!

  You are correct, banjo.  I love how Tracy lets them push him around for most of the movie, and then flips out on Borgnine in the cafe.  The best part of his refusal to react is how angry Borgnine and Marvin get!  Great pair of thuggish villains.

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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2006, 07:32:03 AM »

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Directed by
John Sturges
                                                           
Cast

 Spencer Tracy
 Robert Ryan
 Anne Francis
 Walter Brennan
 John Ericson
 Ernest Borgnine
 Lee Marvin

Original Music by
André Previn   
 
Nominated for 3 Oscars

Trailer----->http://www.tcm.com/video/videoPlayer/?cid=13447&titleId=2090','Popup','650

« Last Edit: November 09, 2006, 07:58:20 AM by boardwalk_angel » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2006, 09:15:54 AM »

This is one of the best films of John Sturges. Superb screenplay. Very theatrical yet suspenseful.

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Tim
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« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2006, 05:26:39 PM »

  I saw this for the first time this summer on TCM.  The cast is great, I especially like Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin as some intimidating thugs, and Spencer Tracy and Robert Ryan are equally as good.

  This is the type of movie John Sturges did best, big ensemble casts made up of a real "man's man."

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cigar joe
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2008, 04:47:18 PM »

Got the Warner Bros DVD of this about a week and a half ago.

Director is John Sturgis cast includes, Spencer Tracy ...  John J. Macreedy, Robert Ryan ...  Reno Smith,
Anne Francis ...  Liz Wirth,  Dean Jagger ...  Sheriff Tim Horn,  Walter Brennan ...  Doc T.R. Velie Jr., John Ericson ...  Pete Wirth ,  Ernest Borgnine ...  Coley Trimble,  Lee Marvin ...  Hector David.

Supposedly this was the first film ever shot in Cinemascope.

I figured out one thing in in the last couple of weeks, and it began with a simple question by member titoli about wether or not "No Country For Old Men" was a Western, the question again came up in another thread about wether or not "There Will be Blood" was a Western. During that time period I watched "Bad Day At Black Rock". I said in answer to titoli's question that yes I thought it was a modern day Western, I think dave jenkins said no, he just though it was a crime film. Then I believe I said maybe consider it a Western Noir, or it may have been in reverse order.

Anyway I mentioned that everytime I saw shots of wide open western vistas and desert landscapes a switch sort of flipped in my soul, and I mentioned that that was what happend when I watched "No Country For Old Men" and that the same switch flipped watching "Bad Day At Black Rock".

So what I figured out is that the UBER character we all know in all great Westerns was present in these films, and that's that grand great Western Landscape. That landscape and those vistas convey, after over 100 years,  more than just a backdrop, and when they are missing from Westerns (think "The Quick & The Dead) that Western doesn't quite ring true, and when they are present in modern films (road pictures, crime films, etc., etc.) that add a certain cachet to them,

Anyway Bad Day At Black Rock starts off with a Souther Pacific Superliner speeding across the desert against the spectacular backdrop of the high Sierras, we hear it horn blast and see it beginning to slow down as it approaches a fly speck of a town. The prospect of the superliner stopping in Bad Rock has the entire population out gawking at the trains arrival. The train stops and out of the orange & Tuscan varnish steps John Macreedy dressed in a black suit and hat with one arm tucked into his suit jacket pocket. We can tell he is one handed. He gets a valise from the conductor and steps to the platform. The telegraph man says "the Superliner hasn't stopped here in four years"  and he asks him why he wasn't told the Superliner would stop, Macreedy tells him maybe he's not important enough.

Its reminiscent in a way of the way "For A Few Dollars More" starts "this train doesn't stop at Tucumcari".

Besides the desert vistas and the high Sierra's backdrops the cinematography of the town and its buildings interiors are lit like the paintings of Edward Hopper, very cool. Robert Ryan, Ernest Borgnine (in a villain role equal to his turn as Shack in "Emperor of the North") and Lee Marvin are the chief baddies most of the rest of the town are their toadies. Walter Brennan and Dean Jagger are sympathetic to Macreedy who had simply stopped to deliver a medal to the Japanese father of the man who died saving his life.

Its instantly become one of my favorite Sturgis films, check it out.  Afro

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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2008, 10:53:18 PM »

I saw this on TV in the early '80's. Sometimes it is aired again over here. I consider this a very entertaining thriller. But not a western. We should start a discussion on it and end nowhere. Though it has some western features, to me this doesn't count a western.

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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2008, 04:41:10 AM »

No it isn't a Western, but it stars one of the best known character of all great Westerns  Afro

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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2008, 11:23:05 AM »

  I've always thought John Sturges never got his due for the amount of quality movies he directed, this one being one of his best.  Caught this last summer on TCM and really liked it.  The whole cast is good, as is typical with Sturges movies, and Borgnine and Marvin are excellent as the thugs.  Highly recommended.

  And I do consider this a western.  Smiley

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cigar joe
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2008, 08:54:12 PM »

Well we did have a thread of this found it, sorry:

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=3958.0

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« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2008, 07:09:20 PM »

Sturges is a peculiar director. I consider BDABR to be one of the finer directing efforts and movies of classic Hollywood era, yet this is the same man who directed Chino/Valdez Horses which is remarkably awful. He had a special gift for creating atmosphere and BDABR is the perfect showcase. This movie floored me upon my first view, yet it improves with each subsequent view. It's essential just for its sound alone.

I haven't seen his entire filmography or anything but I fear this is his lone masterpiece .

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« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2009, 11:02:51 AM »

I agree with @titoli on this: not a W but a very entertaining thriller. I don't know, it didn't quite strike me as a grandiose directorial achievement, but it did keep me glued to my seat till the end. The biggest problem I have is when Macreedy beats Coley Trimble (with one hand), that sort of ruins the whole ''cat around the milk'' act he was pulling for a whole hour of the movie. I'd prefer if he tried to pull some kind of power play baffling the small desert town thugs he was a government agent on a mission or something. Now that would have made them sweat.


7.4/10

« Last Edit: July 24, 2009, 03:06:47 AM by Dust Devil » Logged



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