Casino Royale and Bad Day at Black Rock

So Ali and I spent half a day together watching movies. A friend of mine had recommended Casino Royale — mostly because of the free-running sequence in the beginning — but we just watched the film anyway. As James Bond movies go, I guess it's fine. Maybe I just ran out of interest in such fantastic stories and we were both annoyed at the predictable and annoying plot twists. I also didn't like the impossibly evil and impossibly genius villain — obviously a staple of Bond films, but comically absurd to me now.

The other film I picked up at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) on VHS (although they had it on DVD as well from Webster, I think). It was Bad Day at Black Rock and I discovered it looking for movies made near Burning Man in Nevada — particularly Gerlach, the Black Rock Desert, and the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation — that were otherwise not about Burning Man.

The movie is really quite good: a sort of socially-conscious noir-western set shortly after World War II. A stranger appears in the tiny town of Black Rock looking for a man named Komoko. The town descends from being unwelcoming to downright hostile toward him as they try to collectively hide the secret they failed to forget from 4 years prior.

In most of the establishing shots I was trying to figure out where they were in that part of Nevada, considering seriously where 447 crosses the railroad tracks at Gerlach. I thought I'd do more research and stumbled upon the WikiPedia article [which outlines the whole plot in detail, FYI] but it made no mention of filming anywhere in Nevada — citing only California — and sets the film in the fictional town of Black Rock, Arizona.

Returning to the Internet Movie Database's page, I found that the shooting locations no longer mentioned "Black Rock, NV". Returning to the location browser, I checked the nearby Nevada locales and noted the film's sudden absence from the lists. So I think I ended up accidentally watching the movie for the wrong reasons, but in the end, it was a really good film.

Incidentally, there is a town of Black Rock: in both Arizona, and Nevada. There's even one in New York. None of them look like they're "towns", though — more like "places" … possibly with black rocks. My old DeLorme map software reports (with map data from 1996) three in Arizona along with one in Nevada — none of which are near the ones found by Google. The one in New York agrees pretty much right on the spot.

None of them are even close to The Black Rock Desert, Nevada.

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