3:10 to Yuma (2 Versions)

Felicia Farr and Glenn Ford in 3:10 to Yuma (dir. Delmer Daves, 1957).

Glenn Ford.

Leora Dana.

Peter Fonda in 3:10 to Yuma (dir. James Mangold, 2007).

Like Robert Siodmak's and Don Siegel's treatments of The Killers, the film versions of 3:10 to Yuma are based on a short story--in this case, a 1953 story by Elmore Leonard. And also like the Hemingway-inspired films, the new version of Yuma is based more on the first film than on the original story. Thus, for example, the outlaw's name in Mangold's film is Ben Wade, just as it is in Daves' film, rather than Jim Kidd as it is in Leonard's story. The new material in Mangold's version (e.g., the addition of characters like the Pinkerton agent Byron McElroy) is entirely the invention of the new screenwriters. Though Leonard has been (mildly) critical of both versions for adding unnecessary baggage to his lean, taut narrative, the fact is that both movies are terrific, and although I wouldn't say the 2007 film is better than the 1957 one, the innovations in the new film are for the most part highly effective plot expansions. I would also go so far as to say that Mangold's version is the best Hollywood western since at least Unforgiven, though it hasn't had an awful lot of competition.

What does the original film have that the new one doesn't? Chiefly, Glenn Ford as Ben Wade. Russell Crowe is pretty good, but ... Glenn Ford, yo. (Van Heflin vs. Christian Bale: eh, it's a tie.)

No comments: