Bad Day At Black Rock was on TCM this afternoon. One of my all-time favorite westerns. Bad Day demonstrates how durable the western form can be in the right hands. Make it contemporary, give it a serious theme but keep the pacing and excitement of the genre...and you've got one of the best scripted films I've ever seen.
I'd forgotten how often the film becomes a bit stage bound but to great effect. The lobby of the dingy hotel where Robert Ryan and his thugs gather to confront Spencer Tracy is a perfect setting for long speeches and character development. Two scenes in the third act are especially memorable. The fight in which one-armed Tracy dispatches Ernest Borgnine is staged better than anything in John Ford.
But for all the jabber this is pure movie. The desert, the ghost town-like whistle-stop, the dirt and grit of the actors and the hotel interior are a mosaic of desolation. Ryan, Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and the others add their individual colors to the mosaic. Young Anne Francis is the desert flower, a stunner in looks and a fine strong actress.
This is one of the great ones.
Bob Randisi has responded to my post on Amazon Top Ten reviewers
I can't post on your blog so I'm sending this here. Some years back I went back and forth with emails to Amazon, talking to them about their reviews. I whole heartedly disagree with their policy of reviewing books, especially when they slam them. This is NOT the way to sell books. I liken it to a grocery store putting canned peas out on their shelves, and then a sign telling people they're BAD peas and not to buy them. I tried to get some support from my fellow scribes, but no one wanted to take Amazon on. Others didn't agree with me. One well known author even accused me of advocating censorship. I gave up, but I do NOT buy books from Amazon, I buy them from other sites like Barnes & Noble and Buy.com.
And whenever I get a chance, I have my say, like now.