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Bad Day at Black Rock

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Set in the 20th Century a man travels to a very small town in the western United States to question its locals about a disappearance of a Japanese man that also lived in town. Made in 1955 and staring Spencer Tracey and Earnest Borgnine the movie, "Bad Day at Black Rock", was said to examine the guilt Americans felt about dropping the atom bomb on Japan and fears of Joseph McCarthy (1). Produced by MGM this film was said to have this company worried that it was going to be too political for the time (.2) This is an interesting plot and story as it depicts one man basically taking on a whole town deciding between right and wrong, the town is trying to cover this racial murder up and the outsider wants justice for the deceased man. With the story from Howard Breslin and written by Don McGuire and Millard Kaufman, it would seem as though their personal feelings of dropping the atomic bomb on Japan was not justified. With the thought of McCarthyism, going against the masses or government like displaying non approving of an action like this bombing was a very bold move.

In August, 1945 two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan by the United States killing nearly two-hundred thousand people (3 ). Through a long battle Japan did not actually surrender to the U.S.'s demands until September many had become aware that Japan really had no military left. The bombing of this country that killed so many was a hard idea for many good hearted Americans to grasp as it seemed as though this catastrophic act was completely unnecessary.

After the Second World War with the thoughts of an invasion of communists Joseph McCarthy at the time was known for pointing fingers at many people, lots with power of money and government, of being communist by doing or saying things that would go against the American government. The term McCarthyism came about because many of these accusations that he depicted had no proven evidence to back up his claims ( ). It took many people for this man to hurt until he was eventually stopped but many Americans were scared of speaking out for jus this reason. However, to gain popularity of being brave about doing the right thing even when many do not agree is something this movie played very well on. The character that Spencer Tracey plays basically uncovers a wrongful murder even though all of his peers thought it was the right thing to do even though they felt guilt. Tying back in with the bombing in Japan many were told this was the only way America escaped mass death of its own country so the thought of the thousands dead overseas was justified by many. Many citizens had an underlining guilty feeling just senselessly killing so many innocent Japanese citizens without being able to try and protect themselves. This movie played into that feeling in which the reason it was so popular, film writers and producers know when you feed into deep conflicts our society has within, the movie will be popular.



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