BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK
1955, Warner Bros., 81 min, USA, Dir: John Sturges

Set in a mythical desert town post-WWII, the film follows one-armed combat veteran Spencer Tracy as he seeks to discover the whereabouts of a Japanese-American comrade. De facto town leader and full-time racist bully Robert Ryan and his thuggish pals, Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine, are the stateside fascists in this suspense-filled classic from director John Sturges and screenwriter Millard Kaufman. Co-starring Anne Francis, Walter Brennan, Dean Jagger and John Ericson.


THE BEST OF EVERYTHING
1959, 20th Century Fox, 121 min, USA, Dir: Jean Negulesco

This adaptation of the Rona Jaffe bestseller follows the lives and loves of three young women (Hope Lange, Diane Baker and Suzy Parker) who share a Manhattan apartment and work together at a publishing house under demanding boss Joan Crawford. Beautifully shot by William C. Mellor, this delectable romantic drama brought composer Alfred Newman an Oscar nomination for the title song, and served as partial inspiration for the series “Mad Men.” Costarring Stephen Boyd, Louis Jourdan and future producer Robert Evans.


THE GREAT MCGINTY
1940, Universal, 82 min, USA, Dir: Preston Sturges

Writer Preston Sturges famously offered the script of this classic comedy to his studio for $1 - with the proviso that he be attached to direct. This potent satire about the rise of Dan McGinty (Brian Donlevy) under the tutelage of a corrupt political boss (Akim Tamiroff) earned Sturges an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Many of the character actors here became part of the director’s stock company; William Demarest went on to appear in seven more Sturges films.


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