|Page 1 of 10:||         |
|Index||100 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"A HUNDRED YARDS TO THE STATION - A HUNDRED SECONDS TO GET THERE
AND A HUNDRED BULLETS SAYING.... THEY'LL NEVER MAKE IT"!
So goes the explosive text on the poster for Columbia Picture's 3.TEN TO YUMA (1957). An iconic western 3.TEN TO YUMA has quite deservedly taken its place in the pantheon of classic fifties westerns alongside "Shane", "The Searchers", "High Noon" et al. From a story by the tireless Elmore Leonard it was beautifully written for the screen by Halsted Welles and produced for the studio by David Heilwell. With stark monochrome cinematography by the great Charles Lawton Jr. the picture was arguably the best directorial effort to come from master craftsman Delmer Daves.
Glenn Ford heads a superb cast as notorious outlaw Ben Wade who, with his gang, holds up the Butterfield stagecoach, kills the guard and relieves it of its strongbox contents. Van Heflin is Dan Evens the struggling small rancher who - with his wife (Leora Dana) and two small sons try their best to eke out a living on their dried out small holding. But without rain or the money to buy water rights for a nearby stream to water the cattle Dan finds it difficult to carry on. But then luck comes his way. Wade is captured by the posse and the Sheriff offers $200 to anyone who will take Wade to Contention City and transport him by train on the 3. ten to Yuma prison. Dan immediately accepts the job and so begins a tension filled few hours as Dan holds his captive in a Contention hotel room to wait for the train. And all the while staving off the efforts of Wade's men to free their boss as well as contend with Wade trying to psych him out with tempting bribes to let him go. Excitement reaches fever pitch when its time to leave the hotel and go for the train. But then just as Wade's men are closing in for the kill, and in a surprise move, Wade capitulates and actually helps Dan to get him aboard the moving train.
Performances are excellent! Ford has rarely been better! As Ben Wade he is roguish, cool and throughly likable. Heflin is great too! His Dan Evens looking almost like an extension of his Joe Starrett from "Shane" four years earlier. And Looking gorgeous is the beautiful Felicia Farr in a splendid cameo as the girl in the saloon. There is a lovely moment at the bar in the empty saloon when Wade is trying to seduce her ("Ye know ye look kinda skinny - but I don't mind a skinny girl if she's got blue eyes"). Poignantly scored and beautifully directed - the scene in close-up, as he kisses her, is both amorous and heartfelt and played out by two superb actors.
Providing a wonderful atmosphere to the movie is the music of composer George Duning. Duning was composer in residence at Columbia Pictures and scored most of their prestigious productions like "Bell,Book & Candle", "The Devil At Four O'Clock" and his best known work "Picnic" (1956) in which he pulled a master stroke by combining the tune Moonglow with his own love theme to great effect for the evocative scene where William Holden dances with Kim Novak. His music for 3.TEN TO YUMA boasts a lingering central theme. It is given lovely renditions throughout especially for solo guitar and distant solo female voice. Then with added lyrics by Ned Washington it was turned into a brilliant ballad and sung over the titles by the inimitable Frankie Laine.
Fifty years after 3.TEN TO YUMA an unfortunate revisionist remake was produced. It improved on the original NOT one iota and only served to emphasize how good the Delmer Daves classic really is!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Delmer Daves has certainly proved himself as one of Hollywood's most
talented directorsat least in the Western genre... His "3:10 To Yuma"
echoes "High Noon" in some respects, but to make frequent on the
similarity misses the point of a very fascinating picture
"3:l0 to Yuma" is a classic among suspense Westerns, a serious examination of the nature of heroism of an ordinary man in control of a dangerous outlaw... It is fundamentally a distinguished psychological drama played out in the claustrophobic setting of a hotel under mental and physical siege The film deals with two entirely opposing characters locked together in an isolated room where Daves' camera moves ceaselessly on their course of action...
After a holdup and the killing of a coachman with a gold shipmen, Ford is captured in a saloon, where he is wasting his time in amorous advances with a lovely barmaid (Felicia Farr).
But how to hold him? For his gang, who have made their getaway, will most likely be back to claim him... Ford is sure of this, as his care-free indifference makes it easy to see The cowed citizenry (echoes of the Zinneman picture) become equally certain Someone has got to get him out of local circulation and then on to a train to Yuma where he can stand trial
Who will undertake such task?
The best offer comes from an austere farmer motivated by a severe desperation... Struggling Heflin sees in the 200 dollars his last chance of salvation as his means of subsistence are too little, and the prolonged drought is killing his cattle... For him, there is no other option...
So Ford expects his gang to follow him, and eventually they do... Richard Jaeckel'the man who slept on the sofa' was how everyone remembered him in this pictureis sinister evidence of discovery
In a hotel room, therefore, they sweat it out But Van Heflin does most of the sweating, trying to cope, until the train is due, with a situation beyond his experience For Van Heflin is not even a true professional, as Will Kane was in "High Noon" (who had somewhat similar train-waiting problems), but an amateur, having to deal with Ford's every physical and psychological ruse; having, in the last resortfinding some sort of moral obligation in the jobto resist temptation...
The outlaw, an intelligent man, continually seeks for a way that will give him his freedom, but becomes deeply fascinated by his 'keeper'. What kind of creature is this who toils on some miserably piece of land, cares so deeply for it, gets no fun at all out of life and seems so greatly incorruptible?
Whatever he is, he's the complete antithesis of Ford You get the impression that the outlaw is confronted by a being from another planet Who wouldn't be intrigued?
Van Heflin could so easily have repeated his leading homesteader role in Shane, but, in fact, he adds another layer to him
Ford, in one of his best performances, and he has given many, gets the utmost from his greatest gift...
The women in the picture, Felicia Farr and Leorna Dana, make a solid contribution to its depth
With a nice musical score, this great psychological Western draws its drama and power from the interaction of two excellent characters rather than gun blazing action...
Farmer Evans looks to avoid conflict and work his farm in peace, when he
witnesses a stage coach being held up he doesn't get involved. However due
to drought and debt threatening his farm, he takes the job of escorting the
leader of the gang to Yuma and prison when he is caught. The sheriffs fool
the gang into thinking that Wade has been taken by coach and Evans and Wade
stay in a hotel room until the train to Yuma. However with Wade's gang
getting closer, the clock ticking and Evans' posse deserting him man by man
the stakes rise.
It's a western but it could easily have been in any setting if it was done this well. The story is clever but really picks up once Wade is captured in both Evans' home and in the hotel room, the dialogue becomes clever and meaningful. The story is kept tense (with Evans getting increasingly sweaty) despite being very talky. Wade works Evans in a Machiavellian flow of dialogue that visually gets to him throughout. However once it is clear that honour is important over money the countdown to the tense walk to the train station is on.
Heflin is great as the farmer who takes a stand only to see pride swell up in his family, in a way he respects the criminal for taking risk and being brave in contrast to his middle road lifestyle. Ford is effortlessly brilliant as the criminal blessed with charisma and charm with a dangerous streak underneath in one key scene he sets out Heflin's character when he easily casts a spell charming Heflin's wife and sons. However beneath the dialogue he is slightly jealous of the farmer's settled life and this adds spice to the relationship between the two.
Overall this is a fantastic western, but if it was set in the modern day it would be a brilliant cop thriller, or in space, a brilliant sci-fi. The key is the central relationship between the two men here it is perfect and the tension that builds towards the fateful walk to the station is gripping.
I normally don't comment on movies others have already commented on, but this one's been really bother me because no one really noted just how outstanding the cinematic compositions are. They're eye-poppingly gorgeous and remind me of a western Citizen Kane. In some scenes the Deep Focus technique (lots of hot light so that the background is in sharp focus) is outstanding. The artistry is almost out of place in this exciting but preposterously noirish western. There doesn't seem to be anything else in Lawton's repertoire (maybe parts of Two Rode Together?) as good, but director Daves' respect for good pictorials is evident in most of his efforts. It's a great collaboration, and a pretty good picture that's not as great as the sum of its parts. *** Most of the other comments rightly comment on Glenn Ford's cool acting. Isn't it time for him to get a Lifetime from AFI?
In the Old West, a meek family man (Van Heflin), already under pressure
to save his cattle and homestead from a devastating drought, must now
confront a ruthless, but smooth-talking, killer (Glenn Ford). Textured
characterization of these two men, with seemingly opposite motivations,
more than offsets a somewhat thin story, a credit both to the film's
dialogue and to the acting.
The pace is slow and plodding. The tension builds gradually, as the clock counts down the hours and minutes to the arrival of the 3:10 p.m. train to Yuma (Arizona), that will end the standoff. The film's simple theme of good vs. evil evokes similar stories from the old Gunsmoke TV series of the 1950s.
The film gets off to a powerful start, with a stark B&W image of a distant stage coach moving across a barren desert landscape, as Frankie Laine wails, with affectation, the mournful theme song. It's one of the most striking opening scenes in cinema history.
While the dialogue and acting are more than competent, it's the visuals that really distinguish this film. The overall B&W imagery provided by cinematographer Charles Lawton, Jr. is almost in the same league as the B&W imagery from cinematographers Gregg Toland and Stanley Cortez.
Apart from the thin story, my only significant quibble with the film is its finale, which I found to be unrealistic, and unsatisfying. These issues aside, "3:10 To Yuma" is a technically well made western that thankfully eschews displays of gratuitous violence, and focuses instead on the psychology of human conflict.
This movie was enjoyable to me before I knew anything about Elmore Leonard's
The underlying story is made into a very watchable movie by the director and involves a ruthless but insightful gunman being held for subsequent transport by train which will take him to prison. The job of guarding him is taken on by reluctant guard. This temporary guard is a civilian who takes on the job only because he desperately needs the money to save his farm and family.
Typical of Leonard stories, the main characters have strengths and weaknesses not at first evident but when these traits become evident they are significant factors in the outcome of the story.
It is an intelligent movie which is great to watch. I highly recommend it.
A well crafted film. Superbly paced, composed and edited with hardly a frame out of place. From the very moment the film hits the screen with the 'Columbia' statue and haunting soundtrack you are held throughout. The lead actors, Glenn Ford and Van Heflin are perfectley cast with strong support from Leora Dana, Henry Jones, Robert Emhart, Felicia Farr, Guy Wilkinson et al. This is a film when all the elements that make a good movie - script,music,photography,acting,editing,direction - come together as one and excel. Delmer Daves,Director, has clearley been influenced by other film-makers; there appear to be brief references to Battleship Potemkin and Bicycle Thieves among others. 3.10 to Yuma is a classic suspense film, that works within and beyond its 'western genre'. It remains to be seen what James Mangold, Director(Walk The Line etc.) and his team make of a proposed re-make scheduled for 2007. They will have to work very hard indeed to come close to the quality of the original production. A good start would be to retain the Frankie Laine soundtrack performance.
Long before it was re-made, I treasured this modest gem of a western.
From the first notes of its mournful, affecting theme to to the poignant finale it draws you in and keeps you riveted as the tension mounts. It accomplishes this by keeping to the Aristotelian unities: a single theme about a single protagonist on a single day. Yes, there is an obvious parallel to **High Noon**.
Though cast as a villain for the only time in his career, Glen Ford's natural likability shines through in the role of gang boss Ben Wade. Van Heflin's Dan Evans is Everyman--no hero but spurred to heroism by desperate circumstances and devotion to family. In contrast to Heflin's homeliness is the godlike physical perfection of the young Richard Jaeckel as the outlaw gang's second-in-command, smart, dangerous, utterly amoral yet loyal unto death to his boss.
There is not a bad performance anywhere. But I must single out Felicia Farr as the lonely barmaid who gives Ford a last, quick good time, and craggy-faced Ford Rainey as a town Marshal with a plan.
With its mix of deep focus shots and closeups of the actors' faces, the cinematography was the obvious inspiration to Sergio Leone in his spaghetti western series.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one of the best westerns ever made, a good blend of subtle
psychology and action with some taut editing. There isn't one moment of
film wasted in this one.
I also believe that this is Van Heflin's best screen performance. His Dan Evans is an everyman in the west. A rancher struggling to get by and support his family, he happens to be a dead shot and together with that and his need for money, he agrees to take outlaw Ben Wade to Yuma Territorial Prison.
Glenn Ford's Ben Wade is a complex man. He's an outlaw and a killer, the first few minutes of the film establish that. But he's tired. He can easily get away. But the sight of Felicia Farr at that saloon, makes him pause and linger when he should be skedaddling with the rest of his gang. They shouldn't have been stopping at the saloon in the first place. But Ford needed some quiet time and his acting does convince you of his need for a breather.
Anyway Ford's nabbed and stage line owner Butterfield, played by Robert Emhardt offers a reward and Heflin needs the money. The only other one aiding Heflin is Henry Jones playing Alex Potter the town drunk. He's a comic character, when they stop at Heflin's ranch, Jones inquires of his two sons where Heflin might keep a jug handy. You laugh but Delmar Daves is very subtly setting you up for later heroics.
Ford and Heflin are together most of the film and they have good chemistry. Ford works on Heflin, he'd just as soon offer a bribe to get out of his fix and Heflin comes close to taking it.
The best scene in the film is when Heflin's wife Leora Dana comes after Heflin. She finds him hold up in a hotel with Ford handcuffed to the bed just after a shootout in which Henry Jones was killed. They talk, Heflin's not sure he's coming out of this and Dana tries to tell him to give it up. Earlier Robert Emhardt has also told him to give it up. But Heflin's sticking to his duty now. The comical town drunk has just been killed in a very brutal fashion for standing up for law and order and he couldn't look himself in the face if he shirked his responsibility.
Remember Heflin is no John Wayne type hero. He's your everyman citizen taking on responsibility for his community's safety. He and Dana play this beautifully and if you don't get an emotional response you are made of stone.
Van Heflin had already gotten an Oscar for Johnny Eager. But I think his performance here is even better. Why he was overlooked in the Academy sweepstakes in 1957 is beyond belief. It's Heflin's film and it's a great tribute to a very underrated actor.
Christian Bale and Russell Crowe are going to have to perform feats of
magic to beat this film. There is no doubt that they have picked one of
the toughest westerns to beat in their remake.
There is shooting, but this is not a shoot-'em-up western. It is a thoughtful game of chess between a ruthless outlaw (Glenn Ford) and a farmer (Van Heflin). To see Ford, who we lost last year, try to buy Helflin (Johnny Eager, Shane), and see Heflin grow in courage was magnificent.
Every one else fades as these two play their game. The ending was terrific. I am anxious to see if they change it.
|Page 1 of 10:||         |
|Plot summary||Plot synopsis||Ratings|
|Awards||External reviews||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|