How to Survive One “Bad Day at Black Rock”

John Struges’ Bad Day at Black Rock is a lean 81 minutes, largely set in one sparse locale, and driven by perhaps the most basic of narrative conceits: a stranger comes to town. While the film is not a golden age Hollywood “message” movie per se, it does indeed have something to say. After viewing it in 2017 and reflecting on its origins as a short story first published 70 years ago, what’s most remarkable is how malleable that message turns out to be.

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