Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 34 Things We Learned from the John Sturges’ Bad Day at Black Rock Commentary. Here are three of my favorites…
6. He says Spencer Tracy was such a fantastic actor and engrossed viewers so well in a scene that he himself would “get so caught up I’d forget to say ‘cut!’” Other actors would approach Sturges surprised at the impact Tracy’s presence and performance had on their own.
10. He says a strange thing happened on the film in regard to their lack of extras. “A town is supposed to have wanderers,” he says, and they had a group of ten or so available for just such a purpose. And yet the film has none. “Every time the assistant director would put someone in, I didn’t like it.” He didn’t like it when they were up close, and he liked it less when they were just dots in the distant background. “That’s worse. Are those the rescuers coming?!” They distracted him, “and I’m a movie maker, not a documentary maker.”
25. He says the production was free of conflict between talent with one exception “that amused me and absolutely scorched Spence.” Tracy had won three Academy Awards by this time, but Walter Brennan had won four, and before each shared scene Brennan would look at Tracy and hold up four fingers.