Friday, December 28, 2018

2019 January Classic Movie Bad Day At Black Rock

“Bad Day At Black Rock” is the January Film Classic in Bigfork

The opening film, for the 2019 Classic Movie Series in Bigfork is one that has an unusual number of stars in it.  Starting with Spencer Tracy and Robert Ryan as the headliners, you can add Anne Francis, Dean Jagger, Walter Brennan, Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine. That is a lot of talent for even the big screen to handle.  The title is “Bad Day at Black Rock”. It is a 1955 thriller film that combines elements of both the western and film noir genre in a mixed story about a stranger arriving in a small desert community who stirs up quite a storm for the residents to handle.  The cast is predominantly male and the action fast and furious at just the right times. With Tracy as a one-armed war veteran as the star who can take very good care of himself.  The soft side is only in the fact that he is trying to find the father of a Japanese-American veteran who saved his life in the Pacific war to give him his son's medal. This January Movie Classic will be shown at the Edge Theater in Bigfork by Jack Nachbar. It will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the time period of the movie.  Date: Thursday January 10th . Time: 6:30PM. Price: FREE of charge

The film was released only 10 years after the war ended.  The country was still in a “healing” mode.  Good movie, good cast, lots of audience acceptance, positive reviews, awards, nominations and a profit for the studio. A good one to see and it is hard for me not to tell you more because of the really good plot. Just a little trivia about this film: the studio wanted to call it “Bad Day at Hondo”, but John Wayne had just made the movie “Hondo” and there might be some confusion. The title came about when a studio staff person was on a train going by a town called “Black Rock” in California, where a lot of movie work was done, and the ideas came together: they called the movie a “Bad Day at Black Rock.” 

Spencer Tracy was “cool” to the idea of doing the movie. But when they made the character both with one arm and a real tough guy, he could not turn it down.  The fact that he was a “mysterious stranger” showing in a small town with probably no reason to be there, made the close-knit town nervous anyway and allowed the movie to have its mysterious “edgyness.”. And then there is his reason for being there: to put a medal on the grave of a Japanese-American serviceman. Who knows how he died and why?  All good plot builders.

In 2018 the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Here is a little about the movie that Bosley Crowther said in his February 2, 1955 review of this movie.

“The streamliner hasn't stopped in four years, and apparently few people ever pass through. Especially are they wary of this stranger when they discover that he is interested in a certain Japanese farmer who they tell him left town a few years back. They wonder if he is a detective, seeing how he noses around. And he, in turn, wonders darkly why everyone is so hostile toward him. Slowly, through a process of guarded discourse, which Director John Sturges has built up by patient, methodical pacing of his almost completely male cast, an eerie light begins to glimmer….”       

Come and see a film that has met the test of time and is a good movie.  And also why the town was so suspicious. Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday the10th at 6:30PM.  It will be worth going to Bigfork, because Jack will provide you with background about the movie and a cartoon. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn. The Classic Movie Series is part of the District 318 Adult Education Program.

No comments:

Post a Comment