Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1955. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Millard Kaufman, adaptation by Don McGuire, based on a story by Howard Breslin. Cinematography by William C. Mellor. Produced by Dore Schary. Music by Andre Previn. Production Design by Malcolm Brown, Cedric Gibbons. Film Editing by Newell P. Kimlin. Academy Awards 1955. Cannes Film Festival 1955.
When army veteran Spencer Tracy gets off the train in dusty Black Rock, a town in the middle of nowhere, he starts asking around about a Japanese resident of the town. The man in question is an old friend of his, someone he fought with in battle and now would like to give a war medal to that was never collected when presented to him. From the moment Tracy starts asking questions, the townspeople react with fear and refuse to talk to him, prompting him to wonder just what has happened to the fellow in question. This intelligent, deeply affecting examination of American racism is both a brilliant film on an intellectual level and a very exciting drama with crackling suspense and brilliant acting. Tracy is at his best, and the supporting cast couldn’t be better.