Archive for February 15th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(USA 1954 81m) DVD1

The One Armed Man

p  Dore Schary  d  John Sturges  w  Millard Kaufman, Don McGuire  story  “Bad Time at Hondo” by Howard Briskin  ph  William C.Mellor  ed  Newell P.Kimlin  m  André Previn  art  Cedric Gibbons, Malcolm Brown

Spencer Tracy (John J.Macreedy), Robert Ryan (Reno Smith), Dean Jagger (Tim Horn), Walter Brennan (Doc Velie), Lee Marvin (Hector David), Ernest Borgnine (Coley Trimble), Anne Francis (Liz Wirth), John Ericson (Pete Wirth), Russell Collins (Mr Hastings), Walter Sande (Sam),

There’s a certain irony in the fact that John Sturges is fêted the world over for those populist classics The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape, in both of which everything seems overblown and occasionally bombastic.  Yet Sturges was a very good director capable of directing a film like Bad Day at Black Rock, which is worth all his others put together.  There is not an ounce of fat on the film from start to finish and it remains one of the great modern westerns, as well as the first film to denounce the treatment of Japanese Americans after World War II.

            In 1945, the townsfolk of Black Rock are shocked when something extremely rare happens; a man gets off the train to stay in their one horse town.  The locals greet the stranger, who has only one arm, with suspicion, and use intimidatory tactics to try and persuade him to leave.  It’s obvious they are hiding a terrible secret and the stranger has some idea what it is.  He has come to give a Japanese-American farmer the medal posthumously awarded to his soldier son and comes to believe he’s been murdered.  (more…)

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