3:10 to Yuma (1957 film)
|3:10 to Yuma|
theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Delmer Daves|
|Produced by||David Heilweil|
|Screenplay by||Halsted Welles|
|Based on||"Three-Ten to Yuma"
by Elmore Leonard
|Music by||George Duning|
|Cinematography||Charles Lawton, Jr.|
|Editing by||Al Clark|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||92 minutes|
|Box office||$1.85 million (US)|
3:10 to Yuma is a 1957 American western film starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin and directed by Delmer Daves. The film was based on the short story by Elmore Leonard. The film was well received on release and is still highly regarded today. A remake of the film starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale and directed by James Mangold was released in 2007. The title song, "The 3:10 to Yuma", was sung by Frankie Laine.
In the Arizona Territory of the 1880s, rancher Dan Evans and his young sons witness a stagecoach holdup. When the driver, Bill Moons, overpowers one of the robbers and uses him as a human shield, Ben Wade, the leader of the gang, callously shoots both men.
Wade and his men stop at the saloon in nearby Bisbee, Arizona, posing as cowhands. When Wade stays to seduce the pretty barmaid Emmy, he is captured, but his henchman Charlie Prince gets away with the news. The townspeople fear what his men will do, so the town marshal decides to have two volunteers sneak the prisoner to Contention City to catch a train, the 3:10 to Yuma. Mr. Butterfield, the stage-line owner, offers $200 for the dangerous job. Desperate after three years of drought, Dan jumps at the opportunity, but the only other man interested is the town drunk, Alex Potter. When no one else steps forward, the marshal reluctantly accepts them.
Wade is placed on a stagecoach, which then stops (in view of some of the gang) for a faked repair; the outlaw is secretly taken off while the stage continues on with an imposter, in the hopes that by the time the outlaws figure out what has happened, it will be too late. Wade is taken to Dan's ranch, where Dan's devoted wife Alice serves supper to the family and their "guest".
Dan, Alex and Wade leave under cover of darkness, reaching Contention City at daybreak. Butterfield has reserved the bridal suite at the hotel. While they wait for the train, Wade tries several times to bribe Dan into letting him go, his interest in Dan seeming to go beyond a simple exchange of freedom for cash. Dan is greatly tempted. The local sheriff is out of town, but Butterfield hires five men to help escort the prisoner to the train.
Things go awry when Bob Moons barges in unexpectedly and threatens to shoot his brother's killer. Dan wrestles his gun away from him, but in the struggle, it goes off. Downstairs, Charlie Prince, who has also come to Contention City, hears the gunshot, and spots Wade in a window. Charlie is seen riding off to fetch the rest of the gang.
The men Butterfield recruited watch as seven riders enter the town. Not liking the odds, they retreat, leaving only Dan, Alex and Butterfield. When Alex goes out to reconnoiter, he spots one of Wade's men on a rooftop opposite the hotel. Alex calls out, warning Dan, but is shot in the back by Prince. The gang hangs the wounded Alex from the lobby chandelier, killing him. Butterfield decides that maintaining Wade as a prisoner is not worth the risk, and releases Dan from his obligation. Alice arrives and also tries to change her husband's mind, but he is committed: "The town drunk gave his life because he believed that people should be able to live in decency and peace together. You think I can do less?"
When the clock strikes three, Dan escorts Wade out the back door. Gang members take shots whenever they can without endangering Wade, but despite their best efforts, they cannot stop the pair from reaching the platform, where the train is waiting. Finally, the outlaws emerge to confront Dan as the train starts to leave. Charlie shouts for Wade to drop to allow them a clear shot at Dan. Instead, Wade unexpectedly tells Dan to jump into the passing baggage car. They jump together. The gang starts to run after the train, but Dan shoots Charlie and the rest then let it go. Wade explains himself, saying he felt he owed Dan for protecting him from Bob Moons in the hotel room, and confidently claiming he has broken out of the Yuma Jail before (implying he can do so again), but whether these statements reflect his true motivations and prospects is not clear. Alice sees Dan safe on the train as rain pours down on her, breaking the long drought.
- Glenn Ford as Ben Wade
- Van Heflin as Dan Evans
- Felicia Farr as Emmy
- Leora Dana as Alice Evans
- Robert Emhardt as Mr. Butterfield
- Ford Rainey as Marshal of Bisbee
- Henry Jones as Alex Potter
- Richard Jaeckel as Charlie Prince
- George Mitchell as Mac
- Robert Ellenstein as Ernie Collins
- Woodrow Chambliss as blacksmith (uncredited)
When first released in the summer of 1957, the film became popular among audiences and critics alike for its suspenseful nature and sharp black-and-white cinematography. Ford received particular notice for his against-type villainous performance. The following year, 3:10 to Yuma was nominated for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for Best Film and the Laurel Award for Top Male Action Star, which went to Van Heflin.
Since its release, the film has become a staple of cable television and has gained an audience of several generations. A critically successful remake was released in 2007.
See also 
- List of American films of 1957
- Three-Ten to Yuma, the 1953 Western short story by Elmore Leonard on which the film was based
- 3:10 to Yuma (2007 film), a remake of the 1957 film, directed by James Mangold and starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale
- "3:10 to Yuma", the title song to the film by George Duning with lyrics by Ned Washington, also recorded by Sandy Denny.
- Yuma Territorial Prison
- "Top Grosses of 1957", Variety, 8 January 1958: 30
- King, Susan. "National Film Registry selects 25 films for preservation " Los Angeles Times (December 19, 2012)
- Sokol, Brett (2007-10-08). "3:10 to Yuma in Cuba: How a Western changed the way Cubans speak". Slate.