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"Bad Day At Black Rock - 1955

Event title "Bad Day At Black Rock - 1955
Beginning Date Saturday February 23rd, 2019 PM 6:00
Ending Date Saturday February 23rd, 2019 PM 7:35
Location Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre
Contact Box Office
Description Starring Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Lee Marvin, Anne Francis, Ernest Borgnine, Dean Jagger, Walter Brennan. Directed by John Sturges. 1955, 81 mins. Screened in 35mm.

$8 Adults; $6 Seniors & Kids. Combo pricing for seeing more than one film in a weekend series.

The Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre at 54 JSQ is directly across JFK Blvd from the JSQ PATH Station. Discount parking for Theatre patrons in Square Ramp Garage located on Magnolia Ave. off of Tonnelle Ave. behind the Loew’s. (201) 798-6055

On a hot summer day in 1945, the passenger train that usually races right through the tiny, backwater town of Black Rock actually stops there for the first time in a long time. Just one passenger steps off the train: Spencer Tracy as John J. MacReedy, a one-armed stranger. Tracy was one of classic Hollywood’s archetypal good guys, who often brought a slightly light touch to even serious characters. But here he does not give even a hint of whimsy – just a riveting seriousness.

As soon as he sets foot in Black Rock, Tracy looks for both a place to stay and a local Japanese farmer named Komoko, but his inquiries are greeted at first with hostility, then with threats and harassment, and finally with escalating violence.

Robert Ryan, Ernest Borgnine, and Lee Marvin – all three of whose careers are astonishing for their adroitness at playing either good guy or bad – match Tracy’s intensity and hold on audiences as his nemeses in the backwater town.

Director John Sturges is best known for out-sized action-suspense movies such as “The Magnificent Seven”, “Gunfight at the OK Corral", and “The Great Escape”. Yet he received his only Academy Award nomination for his skillful work here, moving what is arguably a far more small-bore film along at an admirably fast pace, while still keeping the story of deception, hatred and determination to a slow but steady boil that builds intense tension and suspense.

In many ways the film has the look of a Western, only staged in what was, at the time, a “modern” setting. It’s also part detective story. What makes the film riveting when it is being watched and haunting long after is its ever-increasing tension and intensity and the feeling which comes out of that of being trapped in an inevitable face-down between good and bad. And there’s a message about intolerance, blocking out the outside world, and fear of people who are different that resonated at a time when America was still coming to terms with its place in the post-War order. Come to think of it, it resonates today, as well.

Categories Art & Entertainment
Last Modified Friday February 22nd, 2019
APCal by AP



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