From the time John J. Macreedy steps off the train in Black Rock, he feels a chill from the local residents. The town is only a speck on the map and few if any strangers ever come to the place. Macreedy himself is tight-lipped about the purpose of his trip.
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in a word, lame. it's the old HIGH NOON plot but with better personnel. dialogue strains for didacticism but just fizzles and spurts. the whole movie is just A + B + C = "cinema of quality" — also, yet another film where Robert Ryan's unique capacity for psychological complexity is mostly squandered on a rote villain. Sturges' direction is sturdy tho. eh, extra half-star for an odd little gag with a fire hose.
By far John Sturges' best film. By far Spencer Tracy's best performance. Biting (and darkly comic) dialogue, gritty desert setting, gripping and intense plot. Considered subversive in 1955 because of its expose on the mistreatment of the Japanese during WWII and its protest against McCarthyism, it's still relevant today in its story of racism and xenophobia--issues bitterly worsened due to Trump's tyranny.
Even after multiple viewings, I can't quite jump on board in calling this film a masterpiece. It's a good film, with some great visuals, a strong atmosphere of tension, and solid performances. But it's also heavy-handed with its messages, built around a predictable central mystery, and looses steam well before the end. Maybe it had more of an impact in its day, but I personally don't think it holds up very well.
One of the most intelligent moments of CinemaScope and an eloquent example of how insightfulness can pop out of the screen through dialogue. And there is Spencer: his sweetness, his bigger-than-the-screen magnificence.
Spencer Tracy est toujours aussi formidable, dans un rôle étonnant d'humanisme et de force tranquille. A noter une dramaturgie recentrée sur exactement vingt-quatre heures, entre le passage de deux trains amenant et emportant le personnage principal... www.cinefiches.com
Sturges builds up slowly but surely the tension and the mystery without much dialogue in this political western. Where it is question of Pearl Harbour and racism. Where it also could well be about senator Mc Carthy. Spencer Tracy, again, rightfully casted here. Love the no-rythm and anti-spectacular aspect of this one.