If you follow this blog somewhat regularly, you know I love old classic western movies but I have been pleasantly surprised a time or two by a modern remake of an old classic. Today's movie is another such remake, 3:10 to Yuma.
The original version of this movie was released in 1957 starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin followed by the remake in 2007 starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Both films are based on the short story, Three-Ten to Yuma by Elmore Leonard. The short story was first published in March,1953, in a pulp magazine called Dime Western Magazine.
When I first saw advertising for the remake with Crowe and Bale . . . well, I was less than thrilled at the prospect of this movie. While both men are fine actors and I have loved them in many various films, I just couldn't visualize them doing justice to these classic western characters. I have long since been a fan of Ford in westerns and was sure any modern remake would not be half as captivating as the original. But, once again, I was pleasantly surprised by a remake.
This story follows the intertwining lives of two men: one, a decent, hard-working but down on his luck, family man, Dan Evans, and a gang leader and career criminal, Ben Wade. Evans and his sons witness Wade hold up a stagecoach, murder the driver, and even kill one of his own men in the process. When his son asks Evans if he is going to intervene, Evans declines saying it would be pointless when they are so outnumbered. This sentiment becomes quite ironic later in the movie.
Eventually, Wade is captured but the townsfolk are afraid his gang of outlaws will wreak havoc in town to rescue their leader. The local marshal decides it would be best to sneak Wade to another town, Contention City, to catch the 3:10 train to Yuma where he can be safely held in the jail there. Mr. Butterfield, the stage-line's owner, offers a reward for anyone willing to escort Wade to the train. Only two desperate men are willing to volunteer, Evans and the town drunk, Alex Potter.
A lot happens between Evans and Wade from the time they leave town and get to the train. It is this story between these to diametrically different men that makes this western so engaging. When the brother of the stage coach driver tries to kill Wade in revenge for the driver's murder, Evans steps up and saves Wade's life. This act is a pivotal moment in the relationship of Wade and Evans. While Wade is a career criminal, he does have his own set of standards by which he lives. All of these things lead up to the dramatic and surprising conclusion. I do not want to give too much away because you will want to see it unfold for yourselves.
Now, go grab some popcorn (with M&Ms in it, seriously! It's amazingly good!) and sit down for a great double feature or just pick one of these versions to start. No matter which one you choose, you won't regret it!
P.S. I have agreed to let Dianne set up a crazy contest coming up soon which she will explain in the Wednesday Whatever blog. I honestly hope everyone will participate in it so she will quit buggin' me to give her more pictures for the social media stuff. So, help a guy out and check out her blog on Wednesday! PLEASE!