Saturday, January 19, 2008

6:20 To Yuma

We watched the original "310 To Yuma" followed by the 2007 remake earlier this evening. I wasn't sure I would be able to enjoy the Glenn Ford version once my husband noticed that a young Richard Jaeckel bore a striking resemblance to my Aunt Fran. I kept expecting the gunslinger to call people "hon" or offer them a glass or Irish Cream.

The two movies share the same title, basic script outline and some identical dialogue, but that's about where the similarities end. In the modern adaptation the villains are meaner, the wounds are bloodier and the language is saltier. And, as with all current redos, the actors are younger, better looking and, in some cases, more effeminate than the original cast. The worst looking guy in the modern film was Peter Fonda...and he's still quite hunky for a octogenarian.

Personally, I liked Van Heflin in the role of Dan more than Christian Bale. He didn't need an extensive back story to convey his pathetic plight. He managed to do it with carefully crafted expression and a really bad haircut.

Both films, however, do share a certain implausibility that's hard to overcome. I think I'll read the original Elmore Leonard story on which the movies were based to see which one was more faithful to the text.

All I do know is that having been to Yuma once in my life, the only way I'll return is on a train, in handcuffs amid a hail of gunfire.


Suzy said...

I just watched the screener and liked it. And yes, I think Van Heflin wouldn't have needed such a huge backstory. But at some time it got ridiculous.

Dan won't kill a convicted killer just so he can get $200 but has no problem killing innocent townspeople who have signed up to kill him for $200.

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

You forgot to include our new favorite quote. When the marshall is seeking volunteers for the mission, one of the menfolk asks about the relative safety of the mission, to which he replies, "Safe! Who knows what's safe? I knew a man dropped dead from lookin' at his wife. My own grandmother fought the Indians for 60 years, then choked to death on lemon pie. Do I have two volunteers?"

No one bats an eye at that grandma line... me, I would have required some clarification.

I'm guessing that line is take directly from Elmore Leonard's short story.

-- Brian