“What are you squeezin’ that watch for?
Squeezin’ that watch ain’t gonna stop time.” Glenn Ford as Ben Wade / 3:10 to Yuma
Quiet on the set! Master at Work …
One critic has noted the likely influences of German Expressionist film makers in 3:10 to Yuma. Such insight is beyond my ken – so it’s much appreciated. Other, closer to home influences, are more obvious, as from Fred Zinnemann’sHigh Noon and John Ford’s Classics Stagecoach, My Darling Clementine … others.
No color? No Computer Generated Effects?
All the unique virtues of Black and Film making are in evidence. Plus more:
high angle … low angle … wide angle … echo shots … close ups … lighting … shot framing … scene composition … dramatic use of Light/Dark/Shadow … Direction …
Nearly every shot in 310 to Yuma is crafted … seamlessly and unpretentiously integrated.
He had some minor successes in the 1950s and ’60s in writing Western stories and novels, a couple of which were made into movies. But when interest in the Western dried up, he turned to writing scripts for educational and industrial films while trying his hand at another genre: crime novels.
Leonard had sold his first story, ‘Trail of the Apache,’ in 1951 and followed with 30 more for such magazines as ‘Dime Westerns,’ earning 2 or 3 cents a word.
One story, ‘3:10 to Yuma,’ became a noted 1956 movie starring Glenn Ford, and ‘The Captives‘ was made into a film the same year called ‘The Tall T. starring Randolph Scott.
But the small windfall wasn’t enough for Leonard to quit his day job. (‘3:10 to Yuma‘ was remade in 2007, starring Russell Crowe.)
His first novel, ‘The Bounty Hunters,’ was published in 1953, and he wrote four more in the next eight years. One of them, ‘Hombre,’ about a white man raised by Apaches, was a breakthrough for the struggling young writer. When 20th Century Fox bought the rights for $10,000 in 1967, he quit the ad business to write full time.
‘Hombre‘ became a pretty good movie starring Paul Newman, and the book was named one of the greatest Westerns of all time by the Western Writers of America.
Soon, another Leonard Western, ‘Valdez Is Coming,’ became a star vehicle for Burt Lancaster. But as the 1960s ended, the market for Westerns fizzled. Leonard wrote five more, but they sold poorly, and Hollywood had lost interest.
Elmore Leonard books that became movies:
3:10 to Yuma Get Shorty The Big Bounce Touch Stick Jackie Brown 52 Pickup Out of Sight
MFW: Well … maybe Hollywood has lost interest. But there’s plenty around here. I always say that ‘Great Directors make great movies’, but first you have to have great writing, a great story, with great characters and dialogue.
“While studying civil engineering and law at Stanford University, Delmer Daves secured work as a prop boy for director James Cruze’s The Covered Wagon (1923). So fascinated was Daves by the Native Americans working on this film that he forsook a law career to live in Arizona among the Hopi and Navajo. He studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse, appearing in a few early talkies before turning to screenwriting. In 1944 he directed his first film, the low-key combat drama Destination Tokyo. In this and his other war-related films Pride of the Marines (1945) and Task Force (1949), writer/director Daves emphasized the anxieties and tribulations of the individual soldier, rather than resorting to gaudy Hollywood heroics. In 1951, Daves formed his own production company, Double-D productions. Most of his best 1950s films were westerns, which like his war pictures favored slowly escalating personal tensions over wanton gunplay …” ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Nominated for 1959 by Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for Cowboy (1958).
Laurel Award Nominations
1959 Nominated Golden Laurel Top Director
1960 Nominated Golden Laurel Top Director
1961 Nominated Golden Laurel Top Producer/Director
1962 Nominated Golden Laurel Top Producer/Director
1963 Nominated Golden Laurel Top Producer/Director
1964 Nominated Golden Laurel Top Producer/Director
“The success of High Noon spawned numerous psychological Westerns, and one of the best of this crop was 3:10 to Yuma. Van Heflin as rancher Dan Evans and Glenn Ford as outlaw Ben Wade both give exceptional, multi-layered performances, among the best of their careers, with Ford going particularly against type and displaying that he was one of the more underrated actors of his generation. The script by Halsted Welles, based on a story by Elmore Leonard, is taut and insightful, … Equally important is the superb direction of Delmer Daves, … There are also strong supporting parts for Leora Dana as Heflin’s wife and a collection of scene-stealing character actors, including Richard Jaeckel, Henry Jones, and Robert Emhardt … “
“I don’t say stuff like this very often, but 3:10 to Yuma is basically a perfect film. Unpretentious, deeply psychological, and gorgeously produced, it works on every level, making it one of the very best examples in the history of the genre. Smart and powerful while remaining completely unassuming, I can’t imagine how it could be any better than it is. If you’ve never seen it, or have only seen the modern remake, Criterion’s Blu-ray reaffirms just how brilliantly it still shines after all these decades.”
Complex Western a Cut Above the Competition: 3:10 to Yuma
“The little-known 3:10 to Yuma contains similar elements to the renowned High Noon, but is a better film. Clocks play a big role in each film. But instead of focusing on the faceless evil of the coming bandits, as High Noon did, 3:10 has a continuous byplay between the ingratiating bandit and the upright cattleman. Both Glenn Ford and Van Heflin shine in their parts and the psychological maneuvering between the two is remarkable. The supporting cast is well chosen and professional.
The story is by Elmore Leonard. Delmar Daves (The Petrified Forest, Destination Tokyo) directed the film and used German Expressionist camera techiques like the fabled films noir of the 40s and 50s. Many interesting angles not usually seen in westerns, here. The photography and lighting, by Charles Lawton, Jr. (Lady From Shanghai), is dramatic and wonderfully preserved in the new Columbia DVD. The music, by George Dunning, is well matched to the visuals and contains a theme song sung by Frankie Laine, as was the custom in those days.
3:10 to Yuma is head and shoulders above the typical white hat/black hat western ground out during the era, and better than High Noon, demonstrating psychological depth and different layers of meaning.”