The National Film Registry of the Library of Congress recently announced its latest list of inductees into its prestigious pantheon of preservation. Its purpose, as stated on its website is that, “The National Film Registry selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation.” Among the 25 worthy picks for 2018 is Bad Day at Black Rock, making it the fourth Lee Marvin film to be so honored since the Registry’s inception in 1989. Previously preserved classics include The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (2007), The Big Heat (2011) and Point Blank (2016). The Registry’s reasoning for including Bad Day at Back Rock is quoted below:
Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
“Though only 81 minutes in length, “Bad Day” packs a punch. Spencer Tracy stars as Macreedy, a one-armed man who arrives unexpectedly one day at the sleepy desert town of Black Rock. He is just as tight-lipped at first about the reason for his visit as the residents of Black Rock are about the details of their town. However, when Macreedy announces that he is looking for a former Japanese-American Black Rock resident named Komoko, town skeletons suddenly burst into the open. In addition to Tracy, the standout cast includes Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and Dean Jagger. Director John Sturges displays the western landscape to great advantage in this CinemaScope production.”
Clearly a worthy choice but the future remains unknown. Personally, I’d like to see the inclusion of the likes of The Dirty Dozen, The Professionals, Monte Walsh and The Big Red One, among others. Why? Well, one need only read Lee Marvin Point Blank to figure that out and discover the amazing stories, critical response and lasting legacy of Lee Marvin and his phenomenal career.
Until then, happy holidays!