Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Today's film is Bad Day at Black Rock.  It is a western as well as a mystery.  One day, a train stops in town for the first time in four years.  A one-armed man gets off and everyone is cold to him and suspicious of his every move.  He says the purpose of his visit is to see Komoko, who lives at Abode Flats.

The silence of the town surrounds the disappearance of Komoko, the only Japanese person in town.  Smith, the unofficial town leader, has intimidated everyone into silence and lies to the one-armed man, Macreedy, that he was placed in an internment camp.  Macreedy knows that something is up because everyone is acting so distant and weird.  Soon, anyone that helps Macreedy is threatened.  The doctor, Doc Velie, offers a car for him to use, but Hector, one of Smith's baddies, comes up and rips the wires out of it.  Macreedy tries to send a telegraph to the state police, but it never gets sent, and is later ripped up by Hector.

Macreedy was a soldier before he came to visit Black Rock.  Komoko's son was also a soldier, and saved his life in combat.  After his son's death, Macreedy has come to give his medal to his father.  Unfortunately because of Pearl Harbor, there is a lot of anti-Japanese feelings in the area.  Smith had leased some farmland to him, certain there was no water there.  However, Komoko was clever and dug a well to get water.  After failing to get into the Marines and being very drunk, Smith and his baddies decided to go scare Komoko.  They set his house on fire and after he ran out, Smith shot him.  He then used his power over the town to scare them into silence.

Doc helps him escape, and they finally notify State Police.  I like how the first part of the movie spends time setting up the mystery, but the last half-hour feels really rushed.  I will give it a 6/10.

1 comment:

  1. I am sorry you did not like this movie better. I found it super intense and claustrophobic and Spencer Tracy was super cool. But I guess you are right, with all that build up the resolution deserved better.