I’ll never forget when we were on location up at Lone Pine and we were supposed to do a scene where Spence and I had it out. I said to Mr. Sturges, “You got a guy with one arm. How’s he gonna fight a big strapping guy like me when I’m throwing two arms?”
He said, “Okay. Work it out with the stunt guys.”
Spence’s stuntman and I started playing around with it, with input from my double. I knew enough judo to get by, but these guys knew what would look dramatic on the big screen. Spence was there, watching the entire time to learn the choreography, and so was Sturges. When we had something that looked like it could work, Sturges said, “Okay, we’re gonna shoot it.”
So we started the fight scene, which was taking place inside. I had this sponge full of stage blood hidden in my hand. He hit me and then he came up with his knee and just missed, on purpose. I went down then got back up, squeezing the sponge. You could see the blood spurt onto the ground.
I heard Spence say, “Jesus Christ, they killed him.”
— Ernest Borgnine [Ernie: The Autobiography]
♥ ♥ ♥ Bad Day At Black Rock (1955)…