Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Black Day at Bad Rock

The line-up for John Sturges’ movie ‘Bad Day at Black Rock’ had the greatest cast of character actors ever assembled on the same lot: apart from Spencer Tracy in the one-armed lead, you had Robert Ryan, Walter Brennan, Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine. Although Sam Peckinpah’s ‘The Wild Bunch’ is arguably better. Can anyone name the Wild Bunch off the top of their head? I’ll give you Bo Hopkins for a starter …
  Anyway, the point of today’s broadcast, courtesy of Caroline Walsh at the Irish Times:
A film version of Irish novelist Kevin Power’s debut novel BAD DAY IN BLACKROCK, inspired by the death of a young man after an attack outside a Dublin nightclub, is in the offing. The book has been sold via agent Marianne Gunn O’Connor to Ed Guiney’s Irish-based company Element Pictures which produced the movies Garage and Adam and Paul and co-produced The Wind that Shakes the Barley.
  Very nice, especially since 'Adam and Paul' is the greatest Irish movie ever made.
  Actually, I’m not even sure if BAD DAY IN BLACKROCK is a crime novel, or even a novel of crime. And I’m pretty sure Kevin Power didn’t write it as a crime novel. But it’s a good book, and I think in time it will be an important book, and Kevin Power seems to be a decent sort of chap who can write very well, and I think he deserves all the publicity he gets, including the precious few molecules generated here. Well done, that man.
  Meanwhile, there’s already an Irish movie called ‘Bad Day at Blackrock’ (2001), Gerry Stembridge’s story about racism in the south Dublin suburb, the same backdrop against which Kevin Power’s novel takes place. So: what are they going to call it? ‘Black Day at Bad Rock?’


Dana King said...

The Wild Bunch: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson. Edmund O'Brien was their old hanger-on, and Robert Ryan was the former member who was tracking them. Strother Martin alos appeared as part of the posse.

The Wild Bunch is 40 years old this year. I think it's time for a NetFlix.

norby said...

I just watched the Spencer Tracy film 'Bad Day at Black Rock'-pretty good. Between the On Demand feature Comcast has and Netflix I'm catching up on all the old films I've always wanted to see-just watched the 1958 release of 'The Blob', well I won't bore you with the whole list...

Gerry said...


Well done on the blog but if I may...the TV film I made was called "Black day at Black Rock" and the Black Rock in question was a midlands village (not the south Dublin suburb) Good luck to "Bad day..."


Declan Burke said...

Gerry - Mea culpa, squire. Never let the truth stand in the way of a bad quip, eh?

If you'd like to do a Q&A for the new novel, drop me a line at dbrodb(at) and I'll send you on the Qs.

Cheers, Dec