Monday, January 3, 2011

3:10 to Yuma -- Originals and Remakes

My weekend thing is borrowing classic movies from my local library. I love the originals, especially the black and white ones. The colorized versions just seem to leave something out for me. So this weekend I decided to do a side by side, sort of, viewing of 3:10 to Yuma.

I love Glenn Ford. He had such wonderful eyes. The kind you melt in to. The kind I like my heroes to have. And while he's not the "official" hero of the original 3:10 to Yuma, he does become a hero at the end. I wish there'd been a sequel where he did get to be the out and out hero who gets the girl. In the beginning there's a scene where he runs into a woman he once knew and the way he talks about her eyes, the shade of green and how beautiful she was. And then he promises to bring her pearls. It's definitely the stuff of romance and romance from any period. His portrayal of Ben still fits in with today's view of the alpha male, the bad boy, that women want to reform.

The original is still in black and white. The coloriazation brigade hasn't gotten to this movie yet so you still have all the rich dimensions and textures of black and white.

Gene Pitney -- a favorite singer of mine -- his songs were just so emotional -- sang the 3:10 to Yuma song in the movie. He also sang the theme song for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence -- which I have on an old (we're talking old) 33-1/3 record of Gene Pitney I have. No way to play it, but I do have the song!

Glenn Ford's version of Ben Wade is, in its way, a sympathetic portrayal. You want Ben to get away. Maybe it's because I found Ford so sexy that I wanted him to live and get away and make a better life for himself. In the end, despite the fact that his gang kills some of the people trying to bring Ben to justice, Ben does the right thing. He does comment along the way he's escape Yuma prison before, so why wouldn't he do it again?

So fast forward to 2007 and Russell Crowe's version of 3:10 to Yuma. Russell Crowe is hot. So is Christian Bale. The movie was okay -- it was a remake, in color. Still, many of the lines that caught my attention in the original were still there -- the reference to the woman with the pretty green eyes, wanting to hear Dan's wife say grace, among others.

The language kind of caught me off guard -- like "dumb shit" seemed out of place. I've  used the term myself, but it seemed out of place in a movie set in the late 19th century. It wasn't used in the original.

The ending didn't impress me either. Okay, the shoot out was action packed. When Russell Crowe steps up and takes down his own men, it's a great scene. But when Christian Bale's character dies, I didn't much like that deviation from the original. To me, even though Crowe's character didn't kill Bale's character, it still made him seem less of a hero than Ford's portrayal. The bad guys meet a sad ending, but I much preferred the ending of the original when Dan's wife drives her buggy to a place where she can see the train pass and Dan has the chance to see just how much his wife loves him.

My world view is that originals are better than remakes and the books behind the movies and televisions shows are better than what the camera gives us.


J.T. Webster said...

I really enjoyed the Russell Crowe version, but then I have never seen the original. I'm thinking that I'll give it a go now. Thanks for the tip.

Have you seen the original of True Grit? I'm going to see the remake later in the month and hoping it will be great.

Maggi Andersen said...

I love a good western too Regan. This remake wasn't bad. Remakes often don't measure up to the originals though. I'm a fan of Glen Ford too, he was great in Gilda.

margaret blake said...

I remember the Glenn Ford film and really enjoyed it. The Russell Crow version - wow, very violent but Russell - be still my beating heart!