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Inspiration Viewing – A Bad Day at Black Rock

30 January, 2012

A Bad Day at Black Rock is fascinating movie set in 1946 in the small, isolated California town of Black Rock.  The train stops and a man gets off, a stranger to the town.  This is notable as this is the first time the train has stopped there in four years.

But Black Rock has a secret, and not one that it wants to share, the stranger’s arrival is notable enough but when he starts asking around the towns people get nervous or hostile.  I will not tell any more of the plot as it is a delight to watch unfold in this short (about 80 minutes) movie.

Spenser Tracy is the stranger who disrupts the tense fabric of Black Rock and the -very young- (The very young) Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine play the heavies of the villain of the piece.

Highly recommended.

More information, which may contain some spoilers, after the cut.

Things it does well:

  • The insular nature of small communities, where everyone knows everyone and everything that is going on in Black Rock
  • How people of a small community will bend to a dominant personality, even when they do not agree with that person.
  • The power of knowing a dark secret and the influence it can have on your actions.
  • You can get further avoiding confrontation and violence.
  • That people can be inspired to do what is right by example.

The motives of all the characters are believable and the story has a relentless internal logic.

If you want to do a game set in a small community, especially if the characters are outsiders, this movie should give you no end of inspiration.

Go watch it and tell me your thoughts.

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3 comments

  1. This movie is in the filmography of Fiasco. It’s so very good.


    • I entirely agree.

      And I so want to give Fiasco a shot.


  2. It is a good film. Nice combo of Noir and Western elements.



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