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3:10 to Yuma (2007 film)

3:10 to Yuma is a 2007 Academy Award nominated Western film that is a remake of the 10 to Yuma, making it the second adaptation of Elmore Leonard's short story. It is directed by James Mangold and stars Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Filming took place in various locations in New Mexico. 3:10 to Yuma opened September 7, 2007, in the United States.

Plot

Dan Evans (Christian Bale), an impoverished rancher and Civil War veteran, awakens to find his barn in flames, set ablaze by two men working for Glen Hollander, to whom Evans owes money. The next morning, as Evans and his two sons herd, they stumble upon outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) and his gang using Evans' cattle as a road blockade to ambush an armored stagecoach. As he loots the stage, Wade discovers Evans and his two sons watching from the hills. Acknowledging that they pose no threat, Wade takes their horses telling Evans that he will leave them tied up on the road to Bisbee.

Wade travels with his gang to the town of Bisbee, Arizona to enjoy a celebratory drink at the local saloon. Meanwhile, the railroad guards find Evans and his sons with Byron McElroy (Peter Fonda), a Pinkerton agent and lone survivor of the ambush. Evans reveals Bisbee as Wade's likely destination, where the guards immediately return, joined by Evans and McElroy. While Doc Potter (Alan Tudyk) treats McElroy, Evans tries negotiating with Hollander, who reveals his intentions to sell the land to the railroad rather than grant water rights to Evans. Enraged at the loss of his livelihood, Evans tries confronting Hollander in the nearby saloon where he finds Wade, whom he distracts long enough for the railroad guards to ambush and arrest him.

The coach's owner, Grayson Butterfield (Dallas Roberts), enlists McElroy, Potter, Tucker (Kevin Durand), as one of Hollander's guards, and Evans, who agree for a $200 fee to deliver Wade for arrest. From Evans' ranch, McElroy arranges a decoy wagon to distract Wade's gang, now led by the sociopathic Charlie Prince (Ben Foster), while the real convoy charts a course for Contention, where Wade will be put on the 3:10 P.M. train to Yuma Territorial Prison. As the group prepares to ride out, Evans' older son William (Logan Lerman) demands to accompany them. Evans flatly refuses.

During the journey, Wade kills Tucker and McElroy (the former for mocking his situation and the latter for insulting his mother) but is stopped from escaping by the surprise arrival of William, who had followed the group all the way from the ranch. While taking a shortcut through a canyon, the group is attacked by Apache warriors. Evans is wounded but Wade saves him, arms himself, and kills the attackers. Following the shootout, Wade escapes to a Chinese laborer construction camp blasting a tunnel through the mountain range, where the foreman captures and tortures Wade for having killed his brother. Evans, William, Potter, and Butterfield appear and after unsuccessful attempts at negotiation, Potter leads an attack on the foremen and his miners, freeing Wade. As they flee on their horses, Potter is shot and killed, while Wade and Evans destroy the tunnel behind them with dynamite. The group arrives in Contention several hours before the train's scheduled arrival and check into the bridal suite of the hotel, where they are soon joined by several local marshals hired by Butterfield.

Prince ambushes and interrogates the survivor of the decoy wagon, learning that Wade is being delivered to Contention and will board a train to Yuma; he then burns the wagon with the survivor in it. Upon arriving in Contention and discovering the heavy guard around Wade, Prince offers every townsperson a $200 bounty for every guard they kill. The marshals, unwilling to fight against such steep odds, surrender to Prince, who kills them anyway. Butterfield refuses to complete the mission, offering Evans the $200 salary even if Wade goes free. Evans refuses, noting that was the amount the government paid him for the loss of his leg. Instead he asks Butterfield to escort his son back to his ranch and to pay his wife $1,000 and a guarantee of water rights from Hollander in exchange for Evans delivering Wade to the train.

After Butterfield agrees, Evans escorts Wade out of the hotel and the two make their way across town, evading continuous gunfire from the townspeople before taking refuge inside a storeroom. Wade, tired of running, nearly strangles Evans; he relents when Evans reveals that his wooden leg, a subject Wade brought up throughout the journey, was lost when Evans was shot by his fellow soldiers while in retreat from battle, a story that would shame his sons, and that delivering Wade to Yuma would serve as an accomplishment his sons would admire. Wade relents and agrees to board the train. The two return to the streets, dodging bullets before barricading themselves in the station to wait for the train, where Wade reveals that he's been to Yuma twice and escaped both times.

Wade's gang set up positions around the station as the train approaches. William, observing the events, stampedes a herd of cattle (echoing a similar act performed by Wade earlier in the film) that provides cover for Evans to push Wade onto the train. As Wade boards, he congratulates Evans. At that moment, Prince steps up and shoots Evans four times, despite Wade's shouted order to stop. Wade steps off the train and catches the gun belt Prince tosses him. After a tense moment of silence, Wade abruptly executes Prince and the rest of his gang. William appears and draws his gun on Wade but finds he can't kill him, instead turning to his dying father. Wade boards the train politely and surrenders his weapon. As the train pulls away, he whistles for his horse, who perks up his ears and immediately trots after the train into the distance.

Cast

Production

In June 2003, Columbia Pictures announced a negotiation with Mangold to helm a remake of the 1957 Western film 3:10 to Yuma, based on a script written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. After being apart from the project for several years, Mangold resumed his role as director in February 2006. Production was slated to begin in summer 2006. In the same month, Tom Cruise expressed an interest in starring as the villain in the film. Eric Bana also briefly sought a role in the film.

In summer 2006, Columbia placed the film on turnaround, and the project was acquired by Relativity Media. Crowe and Bale were cast as the main characters, and Relativity began seeking a distributor for the film. By September, Lions Gate Entertainment signed on to distribute the film. Later in the month, Peter Fonda, Gretchen Mol, Dallas Roberts, Ben Foster, and Vinessa Shaw were cast. Filming was slated to begin on October 23, 2006 in New Mexico. On the first day of filming, a rider and his horse were seriously injured in a scene when the horse ran directly into a camera-carrying vehicle instead of veering off as planned. The rider was hospitalized, and the horse had to be euthanized on the set. The animal's death prompted an investigation from the American Humane Association. By November, the AHA concluded its investigation, finding that the horse did not respond accordingly due to having received a dual training approach and the rider not being familiar with the mount. The organization recommended no charges against the producers. Principal photography took place in and around Santa Fe, Abiquiú, and Galisteo. The Bonanza Creek Ranch represented the film's town of Bisbee as a "kinder, gentler frontier town" while Galisteo was set up to be Contention (now a ghost town), a "much rougher, bawdier, kind of sin city". Filming concluded on January 20, 2007.

After filming concluded, the owners of the Cerro Pelon Ranch petitioned to keep a $2 million expansion to the movie set on their property, which was supposed to be dismantled within 90 days. The set of 3:10 to Yuma made up 75% of the overall sets on the ranch. In April 2007, the request was met by the county's development review committee to keep the expansion, which would potentially generate revenue in the future.

Release

3:10 to Yuma was originally slated for an October 5, 2007 release, but Lionsgate moved the film's release a month earlier to September 7, 2007 to beat competing Western films The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and No Country for Old Men. As a result of the move, the studio was not able to use the Toronto Film Festival as a platform for the film's release, but it was released before a cluster of films similarly vying for awards. According to Lionsgate president Tom Ortenberg, "In what is shaping up to be a very impressive and crowded field of upscale commercial motion pictures this fall, we wanted to be one of the first ones out, so that everything else will be measured against us." The earlier theatrical run positioned it for a prominent high-definition Blu-ray Disc and DVD release in the first week of January, during awards seasons. Lionsgate similarly planned this strategy for Crash (2004), which won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year.

Box office performance

3:10 to Yuma debuted in the United States and Canada on September 7 2007 in 2,652 theaters. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $14,035,033 and ranked #1 at the U.S. and Canadian box office. As of April 20, 2008, 3:10 to Yuma has grossed an estimated $53,606,916 in the United States and $14,148,545 in other territories for a worldwide total of $67,755,461.

Critical reaction

The film received very favorable reviews from critics. According to the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 89 percent of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 182 reviews. On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 76 out of 100, based on 37 reviews.

Andrew Sarris of The New York Observer said "There is more greed-driven corruption in the remake than there was in the original" and that the film is less a remake "than a resurrection of both the film and its now unfashionable genre." Sarris said Fonda and Foster "are especially memorable" and said "the performances of Mr. Crowe and Mr. Bale alone are worth the price of admission. The New Yorker film critic David Denby wrote that the film "is faster, more cynical, and more brutal" than the 1957 film. Denby wrote that Fonda "gives an amazingly fierce performance" and that Crowe "gives a fascinating, self-amused performance", saying "Crowe is an acting genius." Denby said "this is by far [director James Mangold's] most sustained and evocative work." Denby wrote that one action scene looks fake, but "much of this Western is tense and intricately wrought. Ty Burr of The Boston Globe called the film "lean, almost absurdly satisfying." Burr wrote that Crowe and Bale "are among the best, most intuitively creative we have, and whatever transpires offscreen in Crowe’s case, onscreen they only serve their characters. Neither man showboats here, and it’s a thrill to watch them work." Burr said that the character of Ben Wade is "a snake and a snake charmer in one irresistible package" and said Foster as Charlie Prince is "mesmerizing." Burr said "Bale and Crowe never once misstep" and that Mangold "steers clear of Deadwood revisionism." Burr, however, wrote that the ending "makes little to no sense in a post-Clint Eastwood universe.

Bruce Westbrook of the Houston Chronicle gave the film 3 1/2 stars and called it "the best Western since Unforgiven", calling it "both cathartic and intelligent." He wrote that the film "draws clear inspiration from the lonely heroics of High Noon" and said "While a wildly eventful action-adventure and outlaw shoot-'em-up, it's also a vibrant story of heroism, villainy and hard-earned redemption." Westbrook said that Crowe and Bale are "at the top of their game" and "Crowe is reliably charismatic as a man who's less craven and bloodthirsty than wise, resourceful and expedient. Shawn Levy of The Oregonian gave the film a "B+" and said the film is "grounded in something like the credible realism of a John Ford Western but which also can appease the thirsts for blood, wit and tension harbored by fans of Quentin Tarantino." Levy wrote "The original film spends much time on conversation between Wade and Evans and focuses more on Evans' wife, whereas the new film has more action sequences and is infused subtly with themes that echo vexing contemporary political and moral issues." Levy said "Christian Bale gives us another of his wounded, desperate, stubborn men" and "Russell Crowe fills a role originated by Glenn Ford with a big dose of the mocking charisma, cool discernment and casual cruelty of Robert Mitchum." Levy said the climax "sews up the narrative too quickly", but called the film "a fine and sturdy picture.

Christian Science Monitor critic Peter Rainer gave the film a "B+" and wrote "what Alfred Hitchcock once said about thrillers also applies to Westerns: The stronger the bad guy, the better the film. By that measure, 3:10 to Yuma is excellent." Comparing the film to the 1957 film, Rainer wrote that the film "is larger in scope than its predecessor, and significantly altered in its ending, but essentially it's the same old morality play." Rainer said the "drippy father-son stuff is the least successful aspect of the movie." Rainer also wrote "Bale acts as if he's still playing the POW survivalist from Werner Herzog's Rescue Dawn" and said "his hyperrealistic performance is a drag next to Crowe's dapper prince of darkness." Rainer said Crowe's "underplaying here is in many ways as hammy as if he were overplaying, and that's just fine. Richard Schickel of TIME magazine said "when a movie is as entertaining as this one, you begin to think this formerly beloved genre is due for a revival." Schickel said the 1957 film "was, in my opinion, not as good as a lot of people thought" and said Crowe "never settles for predictability when he's on screen and never lets us settle into complacency as we watch him." Schickel wrote that director Mangold "never loses his crispness or his narrative efficiency." Schickel said the comparisons to Unforgiven "are not entirely apt", saying that "Mangold's offering lacks the blackness and absurdity" of that film. He wrote, "It is more in the vein of Anthony Mann's westerns of the 1950s — trim, efficiently paced, full of briskly stated conflicts that edge up to the dark side, but never fully embrace it."

The Wall Street Journal critic Joe Morgenstern said the performances in the 1957 film were "superb", and its strengths "were enhanced by its proportionality -- an intimate story told in 92 minutes." He wrote "the story is no bigger in the new version, which goes on for 117 minutes. And it's certainly not better." Morgenstern wrote "The basic plot survives intact, and intriguing as ever. The picture looks great" and described Phedon Papamichael's cinematography as "elegant." Morgenstern said "the action sequences are impressive, for a while. Yet the whole enterprise is seriously out of scale", calling the film "an extended, self-serious and, in the end, ludicrously distended spectacle that seems to bring the Yuma train to the station 20 minutes late." Morgenstern wrote that Crowe "keeps all eyes riveted on him" and called Bale "a specialist in mutedness", although occasionally "both men grow so muted that they seem to be trying to outminimalize one another." Morgenstern said "I found Peter Fonda's presence particularly moving" but said "the febrile and semicoherent action climax that precedes [the ending] leaves logic in the dust.

Awards and nominations

The film received two Academy Award nominations for the 80th Academy Awards. Marco Beltrami was nominated for Best Original Score, and Paul Massey, David Giammarco, and Jim Steube were nominated for Best Sound Mixing.

References

External links

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