This fine western opens with Van Heflin as a rancher whose family is suffering from the devastatingeffects of a long drought. Heflin needs $200 to build a well, then learns he can obtain the money as a reward for deliverin... more »g Glenn Ford, a notorious outlaw now in the hands of the law, to the state prison in Yuma, Arizona. Though this will put Heflin in great personal danger, the peaceful man accepts the assignment, knowing what the money will mean to his family. Heflin and Ford hole up in a small hotel in another town while waiting for the train to Yuma. The outlaw begins toying with Heflin's mind, talking in a friendly manner about Heflin's job and financial situation. Playing psychologicalgames, Ford tries to convince Heflin to take $100,000 to look the other way while he escapes. Heflin finds himself in a quandary, desperately needing the money yet being bound by his word to carry out the job. Ford's gang, led by Jaeckel, discovers where their leader is hidden and sets out to rescue him. The town officials abandon Heflin rather than put themselves in danger, leaving the troubled rancher alone to face off with the outlaws. Ford ends up assisting Heflin, helping his captor on the 3:10 to Yuma, explaining, 'I owed you that.' Heflin has come through the ordeal, body and integrityintact, and, as if in answer to this baptism by fire, the skies burst forth with rain, putting an end to the drought.« less
Larry M. from HAMMOND, LA Reviewed on 6/18/2013...
Very good performance by Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. As suspenceful as High Noon.
From a time when men had to prove they were men.
darragh o'donoghue | 05/22/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'3:10 To Yuma' is a stark monochrome Western that has been praised for its suspense and high moral tone. Van Heflin, in a darker variant on his role in 'Shane', plays a character who picks up where most Westerns leave off. The genre is usually concerned with taming wild loners or men with pasts. rewarding them with the joys of civilisation. Heflin has seen what civilisation really means. He lives on a drought-dry farm with a wife and two children he often fails to feed. The grind of fruitless labour has worn them all down, and Heflin's identity as a man, having been once the greatest shot in these parts, is now undermined by humiliation in front of his family by outlaws stealing his cattle and horses, or forced to beg money from indifferent acquaintances. His wife can't understand that his inability to 'be' a 'man' is the result of the civilisation she represents.What's a poor honest farmer to do when he sees murderers and thieves throwing money around, drinking their fill, bedding beautiful strangers, and generally living the whooping-it-up life? Glenn Ford is the not-completely-irredeemable leader of a gang of devoted sadists so feared throughout the region that no lawman dares touch him. Such men are usually let down by their sexual desire, and when he leaves his gang to schmooze a barmaid, he is captured by the locals. Knowing that they will be no match for the manpower or ruthlessness of the gang when they return to rescue Ford, the sheriff plans a decoy, which will need two foolishly brave men to take the bandit to the train station at Contention City. The initally reluctant Heflin accepts the job when a farm-saving reward of $200 is offered.In many ways, 'Yuma' works against the conventions of the Western as it seeks, like the hero to avoid action and the inevitable climactic shoot-out for as long as possible. The film's centre-piece is a lengthy, stagy sequence in a hotel room in which Heflin holds Ford prisoner - potential ponderousness is offset by the terrific acting of the two aging actors, one goading and testing the other, tempting with crooked offers that are all too tempting; the other struggling manfully to resist. At first, Heflin's taking the job is strictly economical - he needs the money. Then it becomes ethical, a stand against socially disruptive forces threatening the community. It is also a test of the masculinity that has long been buried by family duties. Finally, it is an existential struggle, with Ford as the man Heflin could easily become (and perhaps once was?), and his men as the instruments of inexorable Fate the farmer must face and outwit on his own, stripped of support, just as Man must eventually face Death.The film's mise-en-scene is suitably austere, the black-and-white cinematography emphasising sharp contrasts, the alienating outlines of buildings and landscapes, and the vulnerable men and women who walk through them - sometimes watching 'Yuma' is like leafing slowly through an album of stark 19th century photographs taken of the West. The 'city' in which the film is mostly played out initially seems like a ghost town, and a surreal funeral sequence interrupting, or accentuating, the tension, gives a quality of dream. Delmer Daves' direction is not self-effacing - every shot is meticulously, often heavily composed, character patterns structured in frames creating a sense of constriction and claustrophobia that serves to turn the plot's screws. What saves the film from being just another superfical 'High Noon' 'allegory' is the sudden bursts of violence rupturing the tense silence, and the ultimate refusal to wholeheartedly embrace doom-and-gloom existentialism."
A Great Forgotten Western
A. Wolverton | Crofton, MD United States | 08/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When speaking of the great Westerns such as SHANE, THE SEARCHERS and HIGH NOON, 3:10 TO YUMA should definitely be mentioned. All of these films came out in the 50's, but 3:10 has somehow been forgotten.Van Heflin plays a farmer suffering from a drought. He is a quiet, seemingly passive man who becomes a reluctant hero. Heflin agrees to hold criminal Glenn Ford in a hotel room for $200 just long enough for the train to Yuma to leave at 3:10. Ford's gang, however, learns about the situation and plans to take action. The characters and performances by Ford and Heflin make the film work. Heflin is outwardly reluctant to take this job, but his strength lies within. The struggle within him is evident: Here's a family man who can save his farm or do what he knows is right. Ford, the criminal, is alluring, almost charming. He's a con artist and a cold-blooded killer, but you can't help liking him just a little. Sure, he's a criminal, but not your typical stereotyped Western bad guy. The suspense and tension waiting for the train rival that of HIGH NOON (just without the clock!). Even if you don't like Westerns, you'll like 3:10 TO YUMA."
G. Hill | Dublin, Ireland | 09/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Firstly the four stars are for this wonderful film and the performances of it's cast. On the flipside I am extremely disappointed at what purports to be a "special edition" I can't for the life of me see what the addition of a trailer and a teaser trailer for the remake makes this so "special". Where are the commentaries, documentaries or featurettes? C'mon guys this is what DVD is all about. Vanilla release are a shameful waste of a brilliant versatile format.It's a disgrace. This is false advertising at its worst and shame on Sony for trying to squeeze a few last bucks out of this version before the remake hits the shelves. Those behind this "special edition" should themselves be put on the 3.10 to Yuma. If you don't own the movie already then you may wish to buy because I would'nt hold out much hope for an Ultimate edition (they might add a photo gallery!)If you're looking for something extra here well there is always that controversial new cover art!"
"3:10 to Yuma is an interesting blend of Western and Suspense, but more captivating still is its methodical examination of fleeting morals, blind justice, and the charismatic villain at the heart of the conflict.
Notorious outlaw Ben Wade (Glenn Ford) and his gang rob a stagecoach transporting significant funds of one Mr. Butterfield (Robert Emhardt) and end up killing the driver in the process. Farmer Dan Evans (Van Heflin) and his son are witness to the tragic events but are unable to help, save for notifying the authorities. When Dan returns home and his son explains the day's harrowing event, his wife appears disappointed by his apparent lack of courage, though his family's safety was foremost in his mind. When Dan is forced to go into town to borrow money for his farm's upkeep, he discovers that Ben Wade has stayed behind and the desperate farmer agrees to help apprehend the nefarious criminal. Upon Wade's capture, Butterfield employs Dan to guard the outlaw until 3:10 when the train to Yuma will arrive and take him to prison. But when Wade's gang arrives in town to free their leader, Dan will find that honor and dedication may only lead to an early grave.
While 3:10 to Yuma may appear to be an action film, it is actually an intricate examination of character, both hero and villain, set against a suspenseful game of cat-and-mouse in the old West. Van Heflin's protagonist represents the forces of good and parallels the difficulties present that don't always allow justice to prevail - at least not at first anyway. Honor and pride play an important role in Dan's decisions, as his wife's initial chagrin instigates his desire to bring Wade to justice. His belief in this subjective moral is so determinate that he even protects Wade from certain death just to attempt to deliver him to the law's judgement.
As unique and interestingly obstinate as Dan's demeanor is, the villain of the film actually overshadows him in charisma and stage presence. Glenn Ford's portrayal of outlaw Ben Wade is one of the finest character studies in cinema, as he approaches the role with a full palette of emotions and intentions, complete with a similar belief in honor and morals that deceptively shifts as the film progresses. The opening scene finds Wade nonchalantly killing one of his own men when held hostage, and such dispassionate violence would lead one to believe the vilest of villains stands before him. However, the narrative follows Wade just as much as Evans and we discover he stays behind in the town of Bisbee to woo the young bartender Emmy (Felicia Farr). His presence is so captivating in fact that not only does he get the girl, but she seems completely unfazed to learn that he is the notorious Ben Wade. When the outlaw is captured by Evans, their witty back-and-forth banter often reveals Wade to be the more entertaining of the two and most often it's hard not to root for the bad guy. The final confrontation with Wade's gang cements what we'd been expecting all along - the line between heroes and villains is a thin one, at least in this engaging battle of wits and integrity.
Though the plot is light on action, the story is heavy on suspense as Dan attempts to carry out his suicidal mission. Mind games replace gunplay and while the film's running time doesn't outstay its welcome, those expecting a nonstop shootout extravaganza may leave unsatisfied, while the film connoisseur will be delighted by the intricate character study. Reminiscent of deliberately paced suspenseful westerns like John Sturges' Bad Day at Black Rock and of course Fred Zinnemann's High Noon, 3:10 to Yuma deserves a place of its own in classic cinema for its daring antagonist and intent focus on the composition of heroism and the trials and tribulations it requires.
- Joel Massie "
Leaves the remake in its dusty wake
C. Christopher Blackshere | I am the devil's reject | 02/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Now this is a great western! This original is far superior to the remake in so many ways. But the main factor has got to be the realism.
Right in the beginning there is a stagecoach robbery. This one didn't have a 200lb. gatling gun that was mowing down any bandits dumb enough to get in its path.
Other things done better--the hero's wife and kids had more respect for him. In the newer version they basically treat ole Dan Evans like a loser, which doesn't seem to fit with the timeframe.
The romance between the head outlaw, Ben Wade, and the beautiful bartender was much better developed.
In this original, Dan doesn't go from crippled wimp to fearless hero. He was already a tough man, so his refusal to take any bribes from Wade was so much more believable.
Then of course there is the ending. This one is just as intense and 10 times more believable.
I didn't think the remake was horrible, but this is so much better. I am glad I've seen them both, and I recommend giving them a look."