Sunday, January 30, 2011

Life During Wartime

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) - Sturges
Macreedy (Spencer Tracy), a mysterious one armed man in black, comes to Black Rock, a small desert town in the West and starts asking questions about a Jap farmer named Komoko who is nowhere to be seen. The townsfolk are less than welcoming, even downright hostile. The local honcho Smith (Robert Ryan, On Dangerous Ground, Billy Budd) who seems to be in charge of everything, wants Macreedy disappear.

This tale of racism/blind patriotism in the post-war small town America presented in anamorphic widescreen, features some amazing desert vistas in day time as well as night exterior scenes. Ryan is as menacing as ever, even shooting down a woman in cold blood in order to keep his racist murder case dead and buried in Black Rock. We get to know Macreedy's retired vet story. Tracy keeps the righteous torch burning 'til the end. Sturges mixes elements of Western and noir and the result is spectacular. Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin appear as Smith's goons. I got a great kick out of watching the scene where Tracy karate chops Borgnine. Great stuff.

I'm half horse half alligator scene

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