Bad Day at Black Rock

Synopsis: 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 and he finds that the hotel refuses him a room, the local garage refuses to rent him a car and the sheriff is a useless drunkard. It's apparent that the locals have something to hide but when he finally tells them that he is there to speak to a Japanese-American farmer named Kamoko, he touches a nerve so sensitive that he will spend the next 24 hours fighting for his life.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director(s): John Sturges
Production: MGM Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
81 min


Man, they look woebegone and faraway.

I'll only be here 24 hours.

In a place like this, it could be a lifetime.

- Good luck, Mr. Macreedy.

- Thank you. Thanks very much.

You for Black Rock?

- That's right.

- There must be some mistake.

I'm Hastings, the telegraph agent.

Nobody told me this train was stopping.

- They didn't?

- No, I just told you they didn't.

And they ought to.

What I want to know is, why didn't they?

- Maybe they didn't think it was important.

- Important?

It's the first time the streamliner

stopped here in four years.

You being met?

You visiting folks or something?

I mean, what do you want?

I want to go to a place called Adobe Flat.

Are there any cabs available?

Adobe Flat? No cabs.

Hotel open?

Is the hotel open?

Thank you.

Pete, now listen.

A man just got off the train

and asked for Adobe Flat.


Anything I can do for you?

- You run this hotel?

- No.

Then there's nothing you can do for me.

Find Smith.

Hello. Like a room.

- We're all filled up.

- Have you any idea where I could...

This is 1945, mister.

There's been a war on.

It ended a couple of months ago, didn't it?

Yeah, but the OPA lingers on.

- You don't know about the OPA?

- No, you tell me.

Well, for establishments

with less than 50 rooms...

the hotelkeeper's got to report regularly...

about tenants and registration.

There are penalties imposed.

- You seem to have lots of vacancies.

- Well, as I said...

They're every one of them locked up.

Some are showrooms...

for feed salesmen, cattle buyers.

The rest, they're spoken for.

Rented to cowboys, ranch hands

for when they come into town.

They pay by the month.

We provide for their every wish

and comfort.

- Do you understand?

- No, not exactly.

But while I'm pondering it,

why don't you get a room ready for me?

That will be a good one.

I'd like to have a bath. Where is it?

- At the head of the stairs.

- Thank you.

I don't know why you're so interested,

but the name is Macreedy.

- It's all in the ledger.

- You look like you need a hand.

John J. Macreedy, Los Angeles.

I want to know everything he does, Pete.

Phone calls, mail...

In the meantime?

In the meantime, I crowd him a little.

See if he's got any iron in his blood.

I guess maybe you're in the wrong room.

Do you think so?

What else you got on your mind?

Why, nothing else, I guess.

If you had half a mind, boy, you would

have paid attention to what Pete said.

He said these rooms here

is for us cowboys.

For our every wish and comfort.

- And this one is yours, I guess?

- When I'm in town.

And I'm in town, as any fool can see.

You can see that, can't you, boy?

Yes, I guess so.

Would you mind

if I sort of got my things together...

and found another room?

Not at all.

But if you really wanted this room...

we can maybe settle your claim

without all this talk.

I believe a man's nothing unless

he stands up for what's rightfully his.

What do you think?

- I guess so.

- You guess so.

But you still ain't claiming this room?

No, I guess not.

You're all the time guessing,

ain't you, boy?

Don't you know anything?

Well, I know that

ever since I got off the train...

everybody's been needling me. Why?

I guess I rightfully don't know.

He walks light for a big man, doesn't he?

- Who?

- You know who.

What do you think, Doc?

Why ask me?

He's no salesman, that's sure.

Unless he's peddling dynamite.

Maybe he's a cop or something.

- You ever see a cop with a stiff arm?

- Maybe his arm's all right.

Maybe he's hanging on to something tight

in his pocket.

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Millard Kaufman

Millard Kaufman (March 12, 1917 – March 14, 2009) was an American screenwriter and novelist. His works include the Academy Award-nominated Bad Day at Black Rock (1955). He was also one of the creators of Mr. Magoo. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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