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.
1955 - Cannes - Best Actor Winner
Dore Schary - Producer/Writer/Director
Malcolm F. Brown - Art Director
Malcolm Brown - Art Director
Robert Ryan - American Actor
Newell P. Kimlin
William C. Mellor - American Director of Photography
William Mellor - American Director of Photography
Ernest Borgnine - American Actor, MARTY, THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE
Ermes Effron Borgnine - American Actor, MARTY, THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE
Walter Brennan - Oscar-winning American actor
Anne Francis - Actress, HONEY WEST
Lee Marvin - American Actor
Fred M. MacLean - Set Decorator\"Key Largo"
Fred MacLean - Set Decorator\"Key Largo"
Edwin B. Willis - Set Decorator
John Sturges - Director/Editor/Producer
Cedric Gibbons - Art Director/In USA
Spencer Tracy - Oscar winning american actor, BOYS TOWN
Don McGuire - Screenwriter/Director/Actor
Russell Collins - American Actor
John Ericson - American television actor, HONEY WEST
André Previn - Conductor/Composer
Dean Jagger - American TV/Film Actor
Millard Kaufman - American Screenwriter
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.
Theatrical release: January 7, 1955. Shooting location: Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA.
"[O]ne of the decade's most lauded movies for its use of early CinemaScope." - 05/13/2005 USA Today, p.9E