USA Today - 05/13/2005
"[O]ne of the decade's most lauded movies for its use of early CinemaScope."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Folks in Black Rock have their own way of welcoming mysterious, one-armed stranger John J. Macreedy. He's welcome to leave. Or they'll make sure he leaves in a pine box.
Two-time Academy Award winner Spencer Tracy (who was also nominated for this film in 1955) plays World War II veteran Macreedy, who keeps his own counsel about why he's come to Black Rock and who keeps his wits about him when confronted with threats and violence. Director John Sturges (The Great Escape) ramps up the tension while revealing Macreedy's mission and the town's grim secret. Robert Ryan, Walter Brennan, Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin are among the town's thugs and lap dogs. "I'm half horse, half alligator" one says. They'll find Macreedy is even tougher stuff.
John Sturges's classic, both a tale of grace under pressure and an allegory of McCarthyism, stars Spencer Tracy as John McReedy, a World War II veteran with a crippled arm. His arrival in the tiny southwestern whistle-stop of Black Rock in 1945 evokes fear and suspicion in its few inhabitants; no stranger has appeared in town for four years. When he tries to check into the hotel, he's denied a room. When McReedy insists on going up to one of the rooms, Hector (Lee Marvin), a menacing cowpoke, follows him and tries to bait him into fighting but fails. McReedy's request for information about Komoko, the Japanese farmer he's seeking, is met with silence by the frightened sheriff (Dean Jagger). Town boss Reno Smith (Robert Ryan), who's already having McReedy investigated, feigns hospitality while informing McReedy that Komoko left town long ago. McReedy rents a Jeep and rides out to Komoko's abandoned farm only to find a grave. Since he was surveilled by Coley (Ernest Borgnine), one of Smith's goons, McReedy must deal with the worst when he gets back to Black Rock. One of the best films of the 1950s, the tense, atmospheric story, which is exceptionally well acted by Tracy and an all-star cast of supporting players, garnered an Academy Award nomination for director Sturges.
Description by Warner Home Video:
Spencer Tracy stars with Robert Ryan, Lee marvin, Ernest Bornine and Walter Brennen in this offbeat and chilling tale of a man pitted against an entire town.
BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK is a taut suspense story that seems to be always teetering on the edge of explosive violence. Spencer Tracy commands attention as a one-armed man who tames the ruffians who run roughshod over a weatherbeaten desert town. In the process, he uncovers the town's secrets and fulfills a promise made to the man who saved his life.