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Well made as well as frequently illogical.
MartinHafer16 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Years and years ago, I saw "3:10 to Yuma" and loved it. However, seeing it about 30 years later, I am struck how many illogical plot elements there are in the film--too many to make this a truly memorable western.

When the film begins, Ben Wade (Glenn Ford) and his gang are holding up the stage. In order to make this easier, they've stampeded some of a local rancher's cattle into the path of the wagon. Dan Evans (Van Heflin) can't do anything to stop the men from doing this with his cattle, as it's just him and his two small sons against a dozen vicious killers. Additionally, Evans is a pragmatic guy and doesn't want to be a hero.

Later, after Wade is captured, the local Marshall wants to take the gang leader into Yuma to be tried for murder and robbery. However, there's a problem--the town is minuscule and he needs help. One of the guys he enlists is Evans. While Evans is hesitant to risk his life, he's about to lose his ranch--and the reward money could sure help him.

So far, this is a very good western. The dilemma is interesting and Evans is an interesting sort of anti-hero. However, as the film progresses many problems are very noticeable. First and foremost, Wade tries several times to escape and even nearly kills several people in the process. So why not just shoot him?! After all, if a prisoner tries to escape, you shoot him. And, with his gang of thugs wandering about, you really cannot see why they didn't kill the murderer. It isn't like there's any doubt that he is a killer-- he admits it and was witnessed doing the killing. So why allow him to repeatedly try to escape and threaten to have the various posse members killed?! Kill the jerk!! Later, when his gang does arrive and they start killing off the posse members, STILL Evans doesn't shoot Wade...and you wonder why!! To make matters worse, the final scene shows Evans hopelessly outnumbered and surrounded--and then Wade does something that makes sense only to a script writer!! No criminal in the history of mankind would ever have done what Wade then did...NONE! Highly illogical.
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Van Heflin's best
bkoganbing20 September 2004
Warning: 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.
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A True Gem of the Genre
Michael_Elliott20 December 2013
3:10 to Yuma (1957)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Tense and extremely well-acted Western about a farmer (Van Heflin) who finds himself in desperate need of cash so he volunteers to transport a notorious criminal (Glenn Ford) to a train station. 3:10 TO YUMA is one of the best known Westerns from this era and it's easy to see why. Sure, there are those old-school moments about the good guy versus the bad one but it has an added touch of psychological drama and this here is where the film really stands on its own. There's no doubt that there are many great scenes in the picture but things really start to pick up when Heflin and Ford are inside a hotel room where they do nothing but talk about what's going to happen when the farmer goes to transport him to the station. This is when the super editing kicks into high gear as the farmer slowly starts to become panicked over what he's gotten himself into. There are some really striking scenes in this picture including a very dramatic one dealing with the fate of one of the helpers, which I won't ruin here. Another great scene happens early on during a stagecoach robbery where we get to see how menacing the Ford character can be. This here is followed up with a scene where Ford comes onto a local woman. You'd think a scene like this would be out of place but it actually works just to show that this villain also has a charming side. The performances by the two leads are certainly wonderful. Heflin has never been better as the good-hearted farmer who needs to prove to himself that he can support his family no matter what it takes. The scenes where the farmer's tension starts to crack has the actor really shining. Ford, usually a good guy, does wonders being able to switch things up and that wonderful voice of his really adds to the psychological drama as he starts to torture the farmer. The film certainly borrows from HIGH NOON but that doesn't hurt things too much. The film is certainly a gem from the genre.
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Professionally made western surpassed by the remake
Leofwine_draca5 June 2016
3:10 TO YUMA was a difficult film for me to watch because it's one of those rare times that I've seen the remake, starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, before the original. The two films have plots that follow one another closely, so they're virtually indistinguishable, although the remake adds in extra action sequences that weren't in this '50s western.

This original turns out to be a surprisingly decent little fable with strong black and white cinematography and good performances from the two leads. Glenn Ford is a likable ne'er-do-well and Van Heflin puts in a commendable turn as a man of principle. The plot is quite straightforward, but it lends itself well to an undercurrent of tension that runs throughout and you're never quite sure what the outcome will be.

I suppose you could argue that this version of the story is a little slow in paces (that scene in the hotel room seems to go on forever) but it's still above average and well made by genre standards and a film that's difficult to criticise too much.
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makes me appreciate 2007 even more
SnoopyStyle9 August 2013
It's late 19th century in the dusty Arizona Territory. Struggling rancher Dan Evans (Van Heflin) and his sons encounter Ben Wade (Glenn Ford) and his gang in a stagecoach holdup. Dan refuses to intervene. Later, Ben is captured. Desperate for money, Dan takes the job to guard the criminal destined for the the 3:10 train to Yuma.

This is one of the first based on a Elmore Leonard short story. I watched the 2007 remake first. I found it gritty, morally murky, and quite frankly confused without the black and white characters. After watching the 1957 original, I can appreciate more of what the filmmakers are trying to do. I especially like the kid nagging at his father, almost taunting him as a coward. Dan's motivation is varied and complicated. In a sense, he's very human. Glenn Ford is brilliant playing against type as a villain. His motivation is also complicated. He seems like a mannered honorable man one minute and a cold-hearted killer the next. The ending is a little bit too happy ending which seemed ill fitting. Other than that, there is a lot to recommend in this movie.
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A Classic Western
claudio_carvalho20 August 2011
When the charming outlaw Ben Wade (Glenn Ford) is captured after the heist of a stagecoach, the stage line owner Mr. Butterfield (Robert Emhardt) offers US$ 200,00 to the man that escorts the bandit to the city of Contention to take the 3:10 PM train to Yuma to be sent to trial. The rancher Dan Evans (Van Heflin) is broken and needs the money to save his cattle and support his family and accepts the assignment. During their journey, Dan saves the life of Ben when a vigilante tries to execute the criminal. Meanwhile Ben's gang split to find where Ben is and then rescues their boss. When they find that Ben is trapped in a hotel room, they put the place under siege and Dan can not find any man to help him.

"3:10 to Yuma" is a classic western from a wonderful time when honor was an important value in a film and even outlaws could have a code of honor. In the present days, it would be hard to believe why Dan Evans is incorruptible and does not accept Ben's bribe. Glenn Ford performs a charismatic outlaw and the moral duel with Van Heflin's character is fantastic. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Galante e Sanguinário" ("Gallant and Bloodthirsty")
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Train bound
Prismark109 November 2016
3:10 to Yuma offers a simple story, in some ways flawed but makes up for it some nifty black and white photography. Director Delmer Daves goes for some good shots to make this something more than a run of the mill western.

Glenn Ford is the leader of the outlaw pack, when he smirks he looks a bit like a shark. Van Heflin is the poor rancher facing a drought, in need of money and respect from his family. When Ford is captured, Van Heflin agrees for $200 to escort Ford to the town of Contention and put him on the train to Yuma before Ford's gang can rescue him.

In the mean time devious Ford toys and plays mind games with Van Heflin. Can he keep his nerve and get Ford on the train in one piece as Ford's vicious gang close in?

It is an average 'one man who stands up to the baddies' melodrama but High Noon did this better and that movie had a political subtext, this is rather low key with a rather spurious climax.
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Tense little thriller that stands out for it's simplicity and it's strong characterisation
bob the moo16 March 2002
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.
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About that time
kosmasp3 May 2021
Usually I do try to watch original movies before I go ahead and watch remakes. In this case I was not aware of the original when I watched the remake. So hard to say how I would have viewed the remake, with that in mind. But I don't think I'd have liked it less. While this is the original, the remake did get quite a star cast as well. Maybe Glenn Ford is the one element that is the best in both movies ... still they both are good and whichever you feel is better in your view, so be it.

And yes Glenn Ford is so good at being bad, it actually makes you root for him. At least it is true for me. He seems to have some moral compass left ... or some form of humanity. But maybe I'm wrong and he is just deceiving. Whatever the case, he is the star of the movie in so many different ways. If you like western movies with a touch of High Noon to them (a real classic if there ever was one), this will float your boat.
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"I don't go around just shootin' people down, I mean, it isn't nice you know..."
classicsoncall4 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Two earlier 1950's Westerns came to mind while watching "3:10 To Yuma"; the similarities to "High Noon" and "Shane" are inescapable for fans of the genre. It begins immediately, with the Frankie Laine rendition of the title ballad, bookending both ends of the story similar to "High Noon"'s 'Do Not Forsake Me'. Comparing the songs though is unfair, there's nothing remotely intriguing about the Yuma song to make it linger in your memory once it's over. Probably the better comparison is the time element, as the countdown to the 3:10 deadline is reinforced by events that portend a showdown between rancher Dan Evans (Van Heflin) and bad man Ben Wade (Glenn Ford) and his gang.

I'd have to say that for a villain and his cronies, this is the most understated and casual Western confrontation I've ever seen. Ford's character in particular is entirely affable in the face of incarceration and punishment for his misdeeds. In what other Western would you ever find the bad guys reporting the robbery?

The "Shane" connection wouldn't have been as apparent without Van Heflin as one of the leads; his character Joe Starrett in that film was of similar situation and disposition. Here he has two sons who look up to their father as the be all and end all of their tenuous description of a hero. Though they accept his initial reluctance to get involved as a wise man's decision, they're driven to intercede on their father's behalf when Wade takes dinner with the Evans family. Mother Alice's (Leora Dana) temerity is also called into question by the siblings - "Aren't you supposed to say grace with bad people?"

The story evolves into a psychological drama once it becomes a one on one battle of wills between Wade and Evans. One begins to wonder when the self assured Wade will lose the calm exterior and challenge Evans violently for his freedom. It happens fleetingly in the hotel room, with Dan winning that battle, but the war is far from over.

Keep an eye on the bad guy posse as it rides into Contention City (appropriately named for the scenario represented). In a couple of scenes, if you keep count of the riders heading in to town, you'll note seven men on horseback. However when Ben Wade looks out the window to talk to his gang, there are eight men present. At the same time, one of the men in the hotel states to Butterfield (Robert Emhardt) that he counted seven men, while Wade remarks to Evans after one of his men is shot, 'it's now one against seven'.

Though others in this forum find fault with the ending, I'm willing to cut it some slack. I immediately had the same impression that Wade's action was out of character until he himself explained it. Wade was grateful that Evans saved his life back at the hotel when the stage driver's brother attacked him; owing him one was one of those odd paybacks honored by the bad man's personal code of honor. Besides, he'd broken out of the Yuma jail before.

Comparisons to those earlier classic Westerns notwithstanding, "3:10 to Yuma" doesn't quite measure up in terms of impact or tension, but I'd still consider it one of the better films I'd never heard of. And if you were really paying attention throughout, you just had to know that in the end, it was going to rain.
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Classic Western, Still Mesmerizes Today
gavin694221 July 2012
After outlaw leader Ben Wade (Glenn Ford) is captured in a small town, his gang threatens to rescue him. Small-time rancher Dan Evans is persuaded to take Wade in secret to the nearest town with a railway station to await the train to the court at Yuma.

Howard Hawks apparently did not like the hidden messages he saw in this film and "High Noon". Honestly, I did not think any message was all that hidden in here -- a man stands up for what is right in order to protect his family and his neighbors. Is that a bad thing?

But really, this is just a good story of good guys, bad guys, and the blurry line in between. Can money make a good guy bad? Can cowardice in the face of evil allow injustice to stand? It is suspenseful -- I really did not know until the end who would live or die and who would be on which side.

I would compare this to the remake, but I do not remember the remake. I will say it probably did not have such annoying kids in it, though.
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3:10 to Yuma
jboothmillard1 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I obviously recognised this title from the Russell Crowe/Christian Bale remake, and when I saw that this original was rated five out of five stars, I didn't see any reason not to try it. Basically, in the Arizona Territory, small-time ranching farmer Dan Evans (Van Heflin) and his two young sons witness a stagecoach holdup, but eventually the leader of this outlaw robbery, Ben Wade (Glenn Ford), is captured in a bar. With the townspeople fearing the worst about Wade and his henchman Charlie Prince (Richard Jaeckel) getting away to get the rest of the gang, the Marshal (Ford Rainey) decides that he is to be sneaked to Convention City to catch the 3:10 train to Yuma. To pull this off, Stage Line owner Mr. Butterfield (Robert Emhardt) gets Dan, and the only other volunteer, town drunk Alex Potter (Henry Jones), and is paying them $200 to do this dangerous job. Once they are in the Convention City hotel room, that is when the danger sets in as Wade's gang shoots their way to try and get their leader out and free. After many shots fired, and a very close call, Dan and an eventually co-operating Wade get on the 3:10 train just as it starts to roll away. Also starring Felicia Farr as Emmy, Leora Dana as Alice Evans, Sheridan Comerate as Bob Moons - Stagedriver's Brother, George Mitchell as Bartender, Robert Ellenstein as Ernie Collins, Barry Curtis as Mathew Evans and Jerry Hartleben as Mark Evans. I may not remember the "well crafted" moments between Ford and Farr, but I certainly remember the scenes with Ford and Heflin cooped together, and with good horizon shots, and a really good title song by Frankie Laine, there's plenty to like in this western. It was nominated the BAFTA for Best Film from Any Source. Very good!
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Okay, But I'm Curious About The Remake
ccthemovieman-12 September 2006
Here's another classic I found riveting when I first saw it and was enamored with most old films. Now, years later and a bit more critical, I found the boring very boring. It's just too slow-moving.

However I do appreciate two big things in here: the acting and the cinematography. It was just the story was so--so at best. It's no surprise the acting was good with the recently-departed Glenn Ford in the lead, a man who almost always gave a great performance, plus Van Heflin and Felicia Farr. The latter was never a big "name" but a classic beauty, I thought.

Ford and Heflin play very realistic people. Their conversations were interesting. Bad guy-Ford sounded just like the Devil trying to sweet-talk Heflin into letting him go. The finale is a bit hokey is that one of the bad men should have shot Ford. However, the very end of this movie - without spoiling things - is unexpected and very good.

Despite all these complements, the second time I watched this it just dragged too much. Part of that might be I am more used to watching faster-moving modern films in the last five years.

NOTE: Speaking of that, I see where they are re-making this film with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe playing the two leads! Wow, those are two very intense actors so I check that film out in 2007, or whenever it's released.
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Tense and Entertaining.
rmax30482324 March 2018
Van Heflin is a hard-up small-time cattleman hired to take outlaw Glen Ford to the town of Contention and see that he boards the train to Yuma Territorial Prison, but never mind all that.

Heflin's character carries one of those bland workable names like Dan Evans, but Glenn Ford, the prisoner, is called Ben Wade. My own scholarly research shows inarguably that no cowboy, outlaw, or gunslinger has ever carried the name of Wade, Clay, Matt, Yancey, or Ringo. As a matter of fact, the most common names among cowboys were Governeur, Montmorency, Noble. The details are in my manuscript, "Onomastics of the Post Civil War West", never published and never will be.

Back to less important matters. It's a nicely structured narrative. Can the upright Heflin get the smirking Ford to Contention before Ford's gang of goons sees to his release? Heflin takes the job out of desperation. He needs the money badly because the draught is starving his stalwart wife and two brashly honest young sons. The viewer can relax as the clichés follow one another. The comic sidekick is murdered. Heflin's horde of enthusiastic supports drop out one by one as the odds against them become more clear.

It's one of those westerns in which you have to admire the attentions of the studio barber and his team. Heflin: down at the hells rancher. Ford: gang leader on the lam. Yet -- even in choker close ups -- not a single whisker shows up, so that they look like Hollywood movie stars freshly groomed rather than dusty residents of the Wild West.

It is, as I said, entertaining, enlivened by Ford's taunts and wisecracks. Some reviewers claim it's too slow. I would agree, but only in comparison to today's films, all of which resemble the inside of a whirling kaleidoscope.
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Famed and classic Western by Delmer Daves with a magnificent Glenn Ford and a restrained Van Heflin
ma-cortes1 December 2010
Formidable Western full of action , violence , fascinating drama, gun-blazing shootouts ,and fabulous performances . This first-rate adult Western draws its riveting tale and power from the interaction of finely drawn roles as well as the noisy action . It concerns about a needy farmer ( Van Heflin ) with wife (Leonora Dana) and family . He's witness as a dangerous gang (Richard Jaeckel, among others) led by notorious gunfighter named Ben Wade ( Glenn Ford) attacks a stagecoach and killing the passengers . Later on , Ben separates from his band and he goes to a Saloon where meets with gorgeous Emma (Felicia Farr). But the sheriff immediately surrounds the parlour and captures Ben . Railroad official (Robert Emhardt) asks for paid volunteers to join a posse to transport Ben Wade towards Yuma and Dan accepts . Meanwhile, other volunteers unite posse (as the drunk Henry Jones) . After that, and numerous dangers Dan Evans must hole up in a Motel while waiting for the train to take them to Yuma prison and overcome the murderer's several ploys to gain his breakout . The brave farmer agrees to hold trapped gunfighter until the train to Yuma prison arrives overcoming several risks and avoiding his freedom .

Good adult Western with exciting battle of wits between an obstinate farmer and an astute killer who begins to psych him out . Stylish, fast paced , solid, meticulous and violent look with several shot'em up. This well acted movie is gripping every step of the way . This classic western is plenty of suspense as the dreaded arrival hour approaches and the protagonist realizes he must stand alone but his fellow town people for help , nobody is willing to help him such as ¨High Noon¨. The narration is almost adjusted in real time , from the beginning, until the final showdown and is approximately developed in ninety and some minutes . Screen-written by Halsted Welles and based on a short story by Elmore Leonard . Elmore is a veteran novelist and screenwriter , specialist on noir plot and Western and working from ¨Tall T¨, ¨Hombre¨, continuing with ¨Rosemary murders¨, ¨Get shorty¨, ¨Jackie Brown¨ until nowadays . Splendid and evocative cinematography in white and black by Charles Lawton Jr . Memorable musical score fitting rightly to action Western by George Duning with sensible song at the main titles and the end by Frankie Laine. The motion picture is stunningly directed by Delmer Daves and results to be one of the best western of the 50s and 60s . It's recently remade by James Mangold with the well-drawn characters played by Russell Crowe , Christian Bale and Gretchen Mol as wife , though contains various changes, as excessive violence and a little bit overlong because the first version runtime is only 92 minutes and recalls much the classic directed by Delmer Daves.
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Not a particularly deep western, but more complex than it had to be...
moonspinner5518 September 2005
Not so much a suspenseful western as it is a character-study between two men at odds: Glenn Ford is the cunning, quiet bank robber, Van Heflin the rancher who takes on the task of trying to bring Ford in. They don't exactly grow to be friends while holed up in a hotel room, but they do come to understand the complications of their situation. There's much dialogue which takes some time cutting to the heart of the matter, but director Delmer Daves gives the downbeat proceedings a romantic grandeur, and the look of the film is probably more striking than the story. Both Ford and Heflin are terrific, but this isn't a western with deep-seated emotional issues (there are psychological undertones which never quite surface). However, it is more involved and absorbing than one might expect, featuring evocative black-and-white cinematography by Charles Lawton Jr. and a stirring music score by George Duning. *** from ****
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hard-boiled, existential western, solid performances and direction
Quinoa19843 June 2008
It's perhaps too tempting to compare the old and new versions of Elmore Leonard's 3:10 to Yuma, one by Delmer Daves (old Hollywood pro) and James Mangold (Hollywood journeyman who's hit or miss). While the new version has stronger star talent, and even boasts a beefed up running time and some extra additions in terms of Ben Wade's crew (i.e. Ben Foster), the 50's version boasts a longer section devoted to just Wade and his farmer-turned-gunman Dan Evans together in that hotel room with the moral tug-of-war about logic of the situation and money. Luckily, the essential strength of the source of the conflict stays potent in each version: the devil in western incarnate, a gang leader with lots of guts and even a winning, even charming personality to the right fella or gal, tempts the choice of an ordinary farmer down on his luck with a drought. The line between right and wrong is tested, until it threatens to blur completely in face of the problem at hand, as Wade's gang comes closer and closer.

But where Mangold takes things to more nihilistic extremes, Daves takes the material in "old-fashioned" territory, where good men are good and bad men are bad, and there's only so much room for ambiguity. Luckily, just this little bit with hinting at temptation (at one point Evans asks "You sure you could get the money," or something like that) makes this a rich experience, one where the mere suggestion in the face of old moral codes doubles up on the tension of the situation. It goes without saying that Daves still makes things a little too, possibly, 'old fashioned' with certain moments, and even unnecessary, like when Evans's wife shows up right before the clock comes to call at 3; it sets up another beat to Dan's dilemma that's not needed, except to have the added problem of the worried wife on the sidelines of the gunfire. Some of the acting early on in the picture (i.e. Evans's kids) are a little atypical for the genre.

But when the going gets good, 3:10 to Yuma is taut and terrific entertainment, led on by Ford and Heflin delivering subtle and convincing performances. What works so well with Ford, especially, is that he could, potentially, play the other part just as well, as he has the quality for a tough leading man (as one might have seen, for example, in The Big Heat). Instead, his better qualities make Wade an insidious bad-ass, the kind of figure that almost draws one into his magnetic qualities, but then the reminder of his true nature comes out in a flash. And Heflin scores well as the conflicted other, a role that requires that there's more complexity than just a usual John Wayne do-gooder. Altogether, it's a fine package that rocks the boat with the genre expectations just a bit, while still making it almost a wholesome, heroic picture, about the terrifying prospect of being heroic in the face of death and going down the path of the "easy route."
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The Best of the "High Noon" Spin-Offs!
JohnHowardReid27 September 2009
The enormous box office and critical success of High Noon spawned many imitations. Perhaps the best of these was 1957's "3.10 to Yuma". Based on a short story by the legendary Elmore Leonard, "3.10 to Yuma" was originally a Robert Aldrich project, but somewhere along the line Associates and Aldrich sold the script to Columbia where it was picked up by Delmer Daves who commenced filming on November 15, 1956. Although some reviewers have commented upon the film's small budget, it looked like a mighty expensive undertaking to me. There's a memorable cast of fascinating support players and a swiftly paced editorial style that holds shots for just as long as they take to register. However, be the budget large or small, we all agree on commending the superb cinematography of Charles Lawton, Jr., the skilfully intense direction of Mr Daves and the finely shaded performances by Glenn Ford (playing the heavy for only the third or fourth time in his career) and Van Heflin (playing the disturbed everyman hero). Ford displays a great deal more skill and charisma this time around than he did back in 1948 as the psychotic colonel in "The Man from Colorado" or the ruthless gun-runner in "Appointment in Honduras" (1953). The sets and desert locations are stunning. And, true to its "High Noon" parentage, there's a catchy title theme song, rendered here by the great Frankie Laine (whose percussive singing of the title tunes for "Blowing Wild" and "Strange Lady in Town" are the only reasons anyone would want to watch those particular movies).
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3;10 to Yuma Comes On Time ***
edwagreen13 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The film is almost like another Gary Cooper's "High Noon." While just about everyone has abandoned him, farmer Van Heflin seeks to deliver Glenn Ford to the train so that he can be prosecuted for the killing he committed.

I wondered what this film would have been like had Ford and Heflin reversed roles. Both were such good character actors, that they would have easily been able to portray the other's part.

This is a film dealing with high ethical standards, a farmer and his family enduring a drought, and even the villain coming to his senses in the end. Apparently, he was impressed with the Heflin character.
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If you survive the gunfire...you have a ticket on the 3:10!
michaelRokeefe12 September 2002
This fantastic western comes along as if a return to the quality western like HIGH NOON(1952). Delmer Daves directs this intense story of Dan Evans(Van Heflin)a hard working farmer in the need of money and or a good long hard rain. Evens goes into town to try and borrow money and ends up escorting an outlaw(Glenn Ford)to the town of Contention in order to catch the 3:10 to Yuma and justice. Ford almost has you influenced enough to feel sorry for the outlaw. Kind of methodical until the flurry of gun shots right before you hear that screaming whistle blow. The 3:10 is right on time! With Frankie Laine singing through the opening credits...it is almost certain a damn good western is awaiting you.

Also in the cast are: Felicia Farr, Richard Jaeckel, Leora Dana and Robert Emhardt. Perfect scenery for a western; and very good camera angles gets you into the drama. Kudos to veteran director Daves.

NOTE:It is said that Glenn Ford was offered the role of the farmer, but chose to be the outlaw to shake up his image for a while.
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Low-Key Performances, High-Key Suspense
dougdoepke25 January 2016
No need to repeat the plot.

Director Delmer Daves made a series of westerns in the mid-50's before moving on to glossy fluff like A Summer Place (!959). The westerns include such standouts as Drumbeat (1954), Jubal (1956), and Cowboy (1958). His westerns unfortunately have never gotten their critical due. All show real ability with staging, suspense, and character. Arguably, 3:10 is the best of the lot, certainly the most successful, though my preference is the scenic and sprawling Jubal. I suspect Daves has been overlooked because his westerns, unlike Buddy Boetticher's Ranown series (e.g. The Tall T, {1957}), lack thematic continuity.

However that may be, 3:10 builds more than it's share of suspense, as hardscrabble rancher Evans (Heflin) struggles to get smooth-talking outlaw Wade (Ford) onto the train to Yuma and the trial that awaits him. Heflin delivers an ace performance, a study in sheer resolve under an ordinary appearance, while Ford is charmingly devious, an enigma under a smirking veneer. Together they're a study in low-key character rivalry. But I'm especially glad to see two of Hitchcock's favorite TV unlovelies, Jones and Emhardt, getting positive roles for a change.

No need to recap the film's obvious dramatic strengths. Instead there are a couple negatives that have generally gone unremarked. Felicia Farr's bartending role turns out to be totally unnecessary to the story. In an otherwise savvy script, the only reason for its presence that I can see is to build up movie star Ford's role. That's not to blame Ford, but it is to point out how established stars got favored treatment from studios, both to nurture the star and protect studio investment. Plus why an unprotected and delectable young woman would be tending bar frequented by drunken cowboys makes no sense. The other point is very minor, yet since when does a cloudless sky produce rain. The long-shot shows no clouds, yet the next shot shows Evans' wife (Dana) hand-waving in the rain, lo, a meteorological miracle. Surely special effects could have matted in a few set-up clouds in an otherwise detailed production.

Anyway, the movie remains an effective combination of melodrama and character interest. I'm just sorry Daves has not gotten the recognition his oaters deserve.
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These Are The Brown Ones
tedg14 July 2008
I'm particularly fond of movies that I can see through other facets: remakes, derivatives, spoofs and so on.

This one is particularly rich. The remake is quite modern, a story about making a story. The Crowe character (the bad guy) imparts a story on the good guy, that only he can give as a storyweaver and that is more valuable than life. The notion of the western as a story- in-life allows this to work. I thought it a bit blunt to actually engage. It was more a story about storytelling than one that affected me. But it was well within what we expect from the cowboy/gangster genre.

That mattered in its way. I had seen the earlier edition years ago and had assumed it was a weighty in intent.

Wow, was my memory clouded. I think when this was new, it was considered part of a genre-twisting trend that subverted the western by introducing what was considered "psychological" elements. Those seem completely faded today, but they were enough to get John Wayne in a snit.

This is far, far closer to Wayne's notion than to the modern remake. The only element I liked better was the rendezvous with the prostitute. In the remake, the guy was simply bad and a risktaker, sort of an urban youth ignorance of consequence. In this original, the guy knew what he was doing and was just so hungry for sex he took that risk. The dialog in this section must have been written by someone else. Its good.

He talks about a particular whorehouse he remembers fondly as if all his stealing was simply for those good times. He mentions how he would do anything for a woman with blue eyes. She tells him (we can't see, but he plainly should have) that hers are brown. He changes his tune to accommodate. They go in the back and return later sated. As he is arrested, she holds the door for him.

That there is a complex situation, rather deftly delivered. Its an island of intelligence in an otherwise damaged project.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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Room 207 and the 3:10 To Yuma.
hitchcockthelegend16 November 2009
Van Heflin plays rancher Dan Evans whose family and livelihood is at breaking point due to a devastating drought. Needing money fast, Evans gets thrown a financial lifeline when a reward is offered to escort a recently captured outlaw, Ben Wade (Glenn Ford), on to the 3:10 train to Yuma prison. But as Wade's gang closes in to free the shackled outlaw, and the clock starts to tick down, Evans finds himself torn between a sense of social duty and an easy option courtesy of Wade's mind game offer.

Based on a story by Elmore Leonard, this is a tight and tense Western that harks to the wonderful High Noon five years earlier. Directed by Delmer Daves, 3:10 to Yuma sees two of the Western genre's most undervalued performers come together in perfect contrast. Heflin's Evans is honest, almost saintly; but ultimately filling out his life with dullness and too much of a safe approach. Ford's Wade is the other side of the coin, ruthless (the opening sequence sets it up), handsome and very self-confident. This coupling makes for an interesting story-one that thankfully delivers royally on its set-up. As Wade's gang closes in, led by a sleek and mean Richard Jaeckel, Wade toys with Evans, offering him financial gain and gnawing away at him about his abilities as a husband, the tension is palpable in the extreme. Nothing is ever certain until the credits role, and that is something that is never to be sniffed at in the Western genre.

The comparison with High Noon is a fair one because 3:10 to Yuma also deals with the man alone scenario. A man left alone to deal with his adversaries and his own conscience; money or pride indeed. Daves' direction is gritty and suitably claustrophobic, with close ups either being erotically charged {watch out for Felicia Farr's scenes with Ford in the saloon} or tightly wound in room 207 of the hotel; where Heflin & Ford positively excel. His outdoor work, aided by Charles Lawton Jr's photography, also hits the spot, particularly the barren land desperate for water to invigorate it. While the piece also has a tremendous George Duning theme song warbled (and whistled by Ford in the film) by Frankie Laine. Great acting, great direction and a great involving story; essential for fans of character driven Westerns. 8.5/10

Footnote: The film was very well remade in 2007 with two of the modern era's finest leading men, Russell Crowe & Christian Bale, in the dual roles of Ben & Dan respectively. One hopes, and likes to think, that they remade it purely because it was such a great premise to work from. Because Daves' film didn't need improving, it was, and still is, a great film showcasing how great this often maligned genre can sometimes be.
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Shades of gray in characters makes it an interesting western yarn of good vs. evil...
Doylenf5 July 2008
3:10 TO YUMA is a well crafted psychological western with the emphasis on the tense relationship between bad guy GLENN FORD, a killer and a thief, and upstanding good man VAN HEFLIN, struggling to keep his ranch going during a drought and putting food on the table for his wife and two kids.

The focus is really on whether or not Ford can smoothtalk his way out of his predicament, handcuffed and ready to be taken off to jail on the 3:10 to Yuma if Heflin gets his way. Heflin takes on the assignment reluctantly but he's determined not to let Ford get away with murder.

How the situation is resolved is enough to keep the viewer glued to the action, however slow paced some of it is. Director Delmer Daves gets the most suspense out of the film's last ten minutes, when you don't know what to expect in the way of a satisfying conclusion.

However, there are some script problems with the ending that didn't satisfy me as to the motivations of Glenn Ford's character, as well as Van Heflin's solid citizen. It seemed a bit rushed and unbelievable in how the score was settled, with a convenient thunderstorm assuring us that Van's ranch would survive the drought and he'd go home to his wife and kids with new respect.

Glenn Ford and Van Heflin are at the top of their powers as the main focal point of the story. They give mesmerizing performances.

Summing up: Not perfect by any means, but good, solid performances from the entire cast is a big help. Very watchable. Frankie Laine does a nice job on the title song in true 50's style.
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3:10 TO YUMA (Delmer Daves, 1957) ***1/2
Bunuel19768 September 2006
Classic Western, one of the best of its kind but which doesn't seem to have been given its due: terse script (adapted from a story by Elmore Leonard), excellent handling by an expert in the genre (this is undoubtedly his finest offering), wonderful atmosphere and outstanding performances by leads Glenn Ford (atypically cast as the bad guy) and Van Heflin (basically amounting to an extension of his role in SHANE [1953]).

In many ways, it's reminiscent of HIGH NOON (1952): the time factor (heralding the impending arrival of a train), the hotel setting (which occupies about the entire second half), the hero being left alone - at the crucial moment - to face the heavies, not forgetting the evocative title track (sung here by Frankie Laine). While the film's tone is generally low-key and may appear too talky to some (in fact, there's little action per se), it's wholly absorbing with the tension amongst the various characters as palpable as that in HIGH NOON itself. Also, as in that film, the two women involved with the protagonists are allowed to offer their own perspective on things (though their contribution is not as pronounced, especially when considering that Felicia Farr appears in just one scene early on - despite being third-billed!).

The surprising climax, then, is quite splendid - accentuated by the steam of the arriving train (which effectively hides the opponents from one another), followed by a miraculous downpour (the drought which had hit the area having been the catalyst for Heflin undertaking the dangerous mission of transporting criminal Ford to prison) and whose redemptive allusions are also reflected in the latter's character! Notable among the supporting cast are Richard Jaeckel as one of Ford's right-hand man and Robert Emhardt as a stagecoach boss.

Apparently, a remake of this is in the works - directed by James Mangold and starring Russell Crowe in Ford's role and Christian Bale replacing Heflin. Will they never learn...?
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