3:10 to Yuma (1957)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Western, Outlaw (Gunfighter) Film  |   Release Date - Aug 7, 1957 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Bob Mastrangelo

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, occasionally veering towards the conventional (the love subplot between Wade and Emmy is not very believable), but always coming back in time. Equally important is the superb direction of Delmer Daves, who tells his story with an economy of flashiness, and uses the film's obvious low budget to his advantage by emphasizing the isolation and barrenness of the settings. 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. 3:10 to Yuma ultimately stands as a superior example of that subgenre of small-scale Westerns that tell their tale simply with an emphasis on character over action, and which can often be every bit as satisfying and entertaining as the widescreen, big-themed Western epics that grab the headlines and critical acclaim.