Monday, January 14, 2013

Episode Four (3:10 to Yuma)

3:10 to Yuma (1957)

Director: Delmer Daves
Writers: Halsted Welles (screenplay), Elmore Leonard (story)
Stars: Glenn Ford, Van Heflin and Felicia Farr

Very solid western drama with great performances from the two leads and a memorable theme song. Great dialogue and does a great job of ratcheting up the tension, but it all leads to somewhat of a disappointing finale compared to the remake due to the black-and-white nature of Hollywood storytelling during that period. It's all wrapped up a little too nice and neat to come off without seeming at least a little cheesy  That said, it moves along at a nice pace, which is the one place where I'd say that this version is distinctly superior to the remake which gets a bit sidetracked from time to time. Overall, a very enjoyable viewing experience.

Score: 6 / 10

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Director: James Mangold
Writers: Halsted Welles (screenplay), Michael Brandt (screenplay), Derek Haas (screenplay), and Elmore Leonard (story)
Stars: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale and Ben Foster

Yes, indeed I own both versions. This one clocks in at 30 minutes longer than the original film adaptation and wastes, err... spends a decent chunk of that extra time on "big, dumb action." It doesn't have that memorable theme song either. However, it also takes more time to deepen the characterizations beyond the original, lending this one a bit more emotional weight. A couple of small steps back don't quite wash out the giant step forward in how well the characters are written here. Ben Foster is also an improvement as Crowe's villainous right-hand man and steals pretty much every scene he appears in. A rare remake that surpasses the original, if only by a narrow margin.

Score: 6 / 10

I know, I know. You're saying "you said the remake is better but you gave it the same score as the original!" Such is the weakness of a 10-point scale. Let's just say I'm rounding up to six for the original and down to six for the remake and leave it at that, ok?

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