spencer tracy disembarks from a train in the california valley. immediately his presence is met with incredulous looks from the small town folk who haven’t seen the train stop in black rock in four years. we’re not sure why tracy is there, but he tells the porter that he’ll only be there for a few hours. what follows is a story about racism, small town dynamics, redemption and more. the all-star cast (tracy, brennan, borgnine, marvin and robert ryan) is quite good and sturges’s direction is better here than it was in magnificent seven. it’s hard to say whose performance is best – brennan elevates every picture he’s involved in, tracy’s performance is quite powerful and ryan matches it on the opposite end of the spectrum. it’s not a brilliant film, but it’s the kind of solid picture you’d expect given the talent involved and it gets you thinking a bit so it’s recommendable.
it’s part of the controversial classics collection available through warner brothers.