Friday, June 7, 2013

Criterion Loves 3:10 to Yuma (1957)

I have to say that the new Criterion Three Reasons video on Delmer Daves original 3:10 to Yuma makes the film look pretty awesome, though it's probably just because they have Frankie Laine's amazing theme song playing to it (I still think that might be the best thing in the original). I have to say it is exquisitely and carefully photographed, and the story is efficiently told, and Van Heflin is great as usual. But it lacks the energy and the excitement of the 2007 version, which maintained the themes of the original but also became a truly great rollicking adventure. And as much as I like Heflin and Glenn Ford (who plays Dan in the original), they pale in comparison to Christina Bale and Russell Crowe (it's the only role where Bale pulls off being somewhat of a bad-ass, while I'm inclined to say that Crowe probably gives his best performance next to The Insider). I can't help but feel an energetic writer like Elmore Leonard (who wrote the original short story) would have enjoyed James Mangold's dynamic version a little more. But what's great about the 2007  adaptation is that while Mangold creates greater tensions and excitement, the last thing he wants is to be innovative (in fact, Mangold is one of the most old-fashioned directors in Hollywood today, a lot like Daves in my mind). It's the best kind of remake, where a director respects the original and simply wants to make a film that's even better.

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