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3:10 TO YUMA (1957): DVD

Notorious outlaw Ben Wade (Glenn Ford) holds up yet another stage coach, and is dallying in the small town of Bisbee with the barmaid (Felicia Farr) after his gang has left. Down on his luck farmer Dan Evans (Van Heflin) happens to be talking to Wade when the marshal (Ford Rainey) turns up and arrests Wade. For much needed $200, Evans agrees to join the posse to take Wade to the train station in the town of Contention three days away. The train is due at 3:10, and they must put Wade on the train's prison car bound for Yuma, where he will receive a quick trial in Federal Court and be hanged. But Charlie Prince (Richard Jaeckel), Wade's right hand man, sees what has happened to Wade, and goes to fetch the rest of the gang to help liberate Wade.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It's 50 years since this film was made, and its release on DVD in late 2007 neatly coincides with the Australian release (on January 31, 2008) of the remake starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale as outlaw and farmer respectively, directed by James Mangold. Glenn Ford had trouble to be convincing as the unpredictable outlaw who could kill at will, but Van Heflin is spot on as the gritty, downtrodden farmer whose sense of desperation is driven by need more than bravery.

Felicia Farr is strikingly pretty and sensuous as the barmaid seduced by Ben Wade, and Leora Dana is terrific as Dan's wife, Alice. She gets one ripper of a scene in which she comes in to Bisbee to plead with Dan not to go through with it, considering the danger. None of the marshal's men are stupid enough to face up to Wade's gang, which leaves him all on his lonesome to walk the half mile to the train station while being shot at.

Delmer Daves has constructed a neat Western with a strong story, well adapted by Halsted Welles with a screenplay that teases out the changing relationship between Wade and Evans. Where Wade is callous, Evans is determined. Wade is driven by his self interests, while Evans is fighting for his family's survival. But as their forced companionship is impacted by the tension of the dramatic scenario, they both see aspects of the other that provide for some sort of bond.

In the end, Wade develops respect for Evans and his one act of temporary selflessness resolves the emotional arc of the story. The film is something of a classic (released as part of Sony's Western Classics DVD collection) and boasts a terrific ending.

Published January 31, 2008

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3:10 TO YUMA (2007)

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3:10 TO YUMA: DVD (G)
(US, 1957)

CAST: Glenn Ford, Van Heflin, Felicia Farr, Leora Dana, Henry Jones, Richard Jaeckel, Robert Emhardt, Ford Rainey

PRODUCER: David Heilweil

DIRECTOR: Delmer Daves

SCRIPT: Halstead Welles (short story by Elmore Leonard)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Carles Lawton jnr

EDITOR: Al Clark

MUSIC: George Duning


RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes

PRESENTATION: 1.85:1 - widescreen; DD mono


DVD RELEASE: August 17, 2004

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