A few words about...™ Bad Day at Black Rock -- in Blu-ray

Robert Harris

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If you've ever Amtrak'd across America, you'll recognize the tiny almost non-town of Black Rock, as one of those places that almost isn't.

A handful of buildings, just off the tracks, that could be a ghost town, or something still functioning, that's at the very edge of society.

From a credit perspective, you'll find that Bad Day at Black Rock is yet another Dore Schary production -- he also produced Battleground.

You'll undoubted note that director John Sturges makes wonderful use of early CinemaScope frame, as he did for The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. More in exteriors than interiors, the cast fills the wide frame in a natural way, that some other filmmakers were yet to figure out.

It's a simple story of an unknown man, played by the great Spencer Tracy, arriving in town, on a train the never stops there. Why he's there, the secret held by the locals, and what they have in mind is the basis of this wonderful film.

It's a small film, with just a handful of wonderful players, directed in typical Sturges fashion.

Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Dean Jagger, Walter Brennan, Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin round out the cast.

While I saw this film theatrically, I have no memory of how it looked or sounded.

The new Blu-ray is typically for Warner Archive, superb.

Produced from a recent interpositive derived from the original negative, colors, density, grain and stability, make this an extraordinary experience for anyone seeing this for the first time.

Audio is 2-track (left/right) stereo, as the original 4-track mag did not survive.


Image - 5

Audio - 5

4k Up-rez - 5

Pass / Fail - Pass

Highly Recommended

RAH
 

lark144

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I first saw this film at MOMA, I think in the 90's, when they were screening some of Martin Scorsese's 4 track mag prints. I don't really remember how the film looked (color-wise) but I remember how it sounded. Amazing. I think it's one of Andre Previn's very best scores, and possibly one of the best original film scores of the 1950's, that I think is equal to Leonard Bernstein's ON THE WATERFRONT. I'm disappointed that they weren't able to reproduce the original 4 track mag, but I'll take what I can get.
 
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Billy Batson

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A nice early review. It's a 1955 cinemascope film, so I'm not expecting miracles, but it sounds like it's a great looking Blu-ray. This had been in nearly every wants list I've ever made (this & The Sea Hawk, fingers crossed!). A great start to next year.
 

Reggie W

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So, I'm guessing this blu does not have the Sturges commentary...is that the case?
 

TheSteig

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SPECIAL FEATURES:
Commentary Track by film historian Dana Polan
Original Theatrical Trailer (HD)
 

OliverK

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First day purchase - WB is fast becoming my favorite boutique blu-ray distributor.
The biggest Hollywood studio of them all is now a boutique label?
Not sure I agree with that classification but I look forward to get my Blu-ray of Bad Day at Black Rock!
 

Allansfirebird

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The biggest Hollywood studio of them all is now a boutique label?
Not sure I agree with that classification but I look forward to get my Blu-ray of Bad Day at Black Rock!
I think Warner Archive would classify as a boutique label. The main WHV label is a major distributor, however. Unless I'm incorrect in thinking they're separate entities.
 

OliverK

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I think Warner Archive would classify as a boutique label. The main WHV label is a major distributor, however. Unless I'm incorrect in thinking they're separate entities.
The original post just mentioned Warner as a favorite boutique label. But even if we take Warner Archive it just looks like a different distribution approach to me whereby Warner maximizes returns on titles that they think will sell below a certain number of copies on Blu-ray. To my knowledge Warner Archive is also still very much a part of Warner.

To be clear I do not have a problem with that and in fact I am all for it if it brings us more high quality releases, it just does not qualify as a boutique label to me.
 

Randy Korstick

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The original post just mentioned Warner as a favorite boutique label. But even if we take Warner Archive it just looks like a different distribution approach to me whereby Warner maximizes returns on titles that they think will sell below a certain number of copies on Blu-ray. To my knowledge Warner Archive is also still very much a part of Warner.

To be clear I do not have a problem with that and in fact I am all for it if it brings us more high quality releases, it just does not qualify as a boutique label to me.
They are a part of Warner but they are also a separate entity from WHV.
 

David Weicker

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In the past, I used to consider WAC to be a 'boutique' label, with WHV being one of the 'majors'. WAC handled the extra-deep catalog titles. WHV handled the mainstream catalog titles.

But in the past year, it seems like WHV has closed up shop - at least in regards to catalog titles. In my mind, that elevates WAC out of the boutique status
 
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Adam_S

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I really like this movie, but I've only ever watched it on LD, Once, despite having it on DVD since the controversial classics set came out, I think I really ought to watch my current copy before upgrading!
 

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