the 2017 reel infatuation blogathon: glenn ford as ben wade in ‘3:10 to yuma’ (1957)

(A list of the other posts in this blogathon can be found here.)

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‘3:10 to Yuma’ (original, not re-make) was the first Glenn Ford movie I ever watched (besides ‘Is Paris Burning?’, which I watched before I knew who he was).  I can’t be sure, it being so long ago and all, but I believe my attention was more on Van Heflin, who I’d seen and liked in a couple other films (‘Shane’, for one).  It wasn’t until I read Hamlette’s in–depth analysis of ‘3:10 to Yuma’ that I found myself drawn to Glenn Ford’s Ben Wade.  But I didn’t re-watch the film until after I’d seen Blackboard Jungle and fallen head-over-heels for Richard Dadier.  (My crush on him probably had something – though not everything – to do with my liking for Ben Wade, come to think of it.)

Anyway, I watched ‘3:10 to Yuma’ again and thus began my one and only crush on a bad guy, a villain, an outlaw. (Unless you’re counting Robin Hood or Bucky, which I don’t.)  I mean, I’ve had an interest in several villains before (mostly Disney ones, ’cause they can be pretty epic in that twisted for evil way) but I always found it weird and vaguely disturbing when girls would swoon over Loki or Richard Armitage’s Sir Guy.  They’re murderers!  They do evil, nasty things!  (And to be honest, it’s a very fine line, crushing on Ben Wade, because he is a murderer and he did do evil things.  So I try not to be too obsessed.)

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The biggest obstacle to my wholeheartedly crushing on Ben is something that happens in the first few minutes of the film.  Ben and his gang hold up a stagecoach and proceed to steal the money from it.  In the middle of all this, the driver of the stage grabs one of Ben’s men and holds him hostage.  And Ben proceeds to coolly shoot both the driver and his own man, just like that.  I believe the screenwriter(s) did this to establish Ben’s reputation early on in a relatively short movie so that we, the audience, understand why the mere mention of Ben Wade elicits such a strong, fearful response in the ranchers and townspeople.  And we definitely do understand.

Personally, I think that Prince is a way more cruel, cold, and calculating than Ben, but the whole scenario with the driver/Ben’s man getting shot is still quite violent and disturbing.  In some ways, though, I think it’s incongruous to Ben’s charming demeanor throughout so much of the rest of the film.

And Ben is charming.  He really is.  First with Emmy, the saloon girl, and then with Mrs. Evans.  It’s pretty hard not to at least grin during the scene where he eats dinner with the Evans family. (Especially when Dan’s sons go off about how Dan could shoot Ben if he wanted to.  Or the whole thing with saying grace.)  And when he talks with Mrs. Evans, I think that on some level he might be trying to make her feel more at ease around him, trying to let her know that he poses no threat to her family.

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Then, of course, there’s what he says to her after supper…

“I’m obliged for your hospitality.  I appreciate it, and your husband too.  I hope I can send him back to you all right.”

I know it may be silly to think this, but… <33333

That isn’t an idle hope/wish/promise of Ben’s, in my opinion.  Ben means what he says (always, I think).  Even though my brother, Ezra, thinks he’s psychotic, the way he keeps picking away at Dan in the hotel room, talking and talking and talking and trying to bribe him and bringing up Dan’s family, I tend to take an entirely different view of things (surprise, surprise).

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I don’t know when it happened (feel free to share your thoughts about the following in the comments), but I have a theory that eventually, at some point, Ben went from hounding Dan simply because he wanted to escape, to hounding Dan so that Dan could walk out of that hotel room alive (by taking Ben’s bribe).  Like I said, I don’t know when Ben switched his thinking on all that (and I’m guessing it wouldn’t be clear in his mind either), but I believe there was a switch.  And that’s what really counts.

This post wouldn’t be complete without at least some mention of the ending of this film, so… (SPOILERS GALORE)

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Dan and Ben make their way to the train station against all odds, with Ben’s gang shadowing their every move.  It’s a tense, fast-paced scene with plenty of nail-biting moments.  But they get to the station, which is the important thing.  And as the train pulls up, swathing Dan and Ben and the gang in clouds of steam/smoke, Prince yells at Ben to duck so he can get a good shot at Dan.  Only Ben doesn’t.  And at the last minute he and Dan jump on the train and, just like that, they’re gone. (Well, not just like that…the gang runs after them and Dan shoots Prince.  But anyway.)

The last couple minutes of the film are powerful stuff.  The theme song, the glorious rain, the smile on everyone’s faces, and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Ben can finally turn his life around for good. (Or at least for better.  Because even though redemption is definitely not a theme in ‘3:10 to Yuma’, I could easily see a fanfiction sequel written with just that in mind.)

And, after all, Ben Wade has escaped from Yuma before.

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Eva

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farewell for now…

For the next few weeks, I’m going to be away on vacation.  I have a couple posts scheduled to publish – both of which I’m very excited to share with y’all – and I won’t be completely cut off from the internet (I hope) but my interactions on this blog will be limited, at best.  Just wanted to let you know so that you wouldn’t think I’d abandoned this blog or anything.

In the mean time, I’m planning to hold a rather awesome giveaway when this blog hits two hundred followers, so spread the word! 🙂

And that’s about all I have to say right now, so…

Eva

mini book reviews {#1}

As promised.  Maybe a little late, but still…two posts in almost two days is pretty good for me, I think. 🙂

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~Wonder by R.J. Palacio – I re-read this one is prep for the movie and I’ve gotta say…Wonder is one amazing book.  I read it in a day.  And I’m giving Owen Wilson a huge thumbs-up as Nate Pullman.  He’s pretty much perfectly cast.

~The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Elusive Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy – Sir Percy’s adventures never, ever, EVER get old.  I love everything about these books and most of the characters.

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~The Siren by Kiera Cass – Not sure if I like this better than the Selection series, but it’s different and swoonable and so atmospheric.  I’d probably read it again.

~The Divergent series by Veronica Roth – First book: LOVE.  Second book: Slightly boring and Four is more than a little out of character in the beginning.  Third book: What. Even.  Four: All the heart emoticons, Four-style (<4).

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~Just Deserts by Eric Walters – According to my brother, almost every Eric Walters book is a copy of the last, but this one breaks the mold.  Genuinely moved me in a few places, and y’all know that I’m attracted to stories of huge jerks who become awesome human beings through a series of unfortunate events (#lightningmcqueenFORTHEWIN).

~Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman – Interesting, but ultimately a depressing look at how people cope (or don’t) with the trials of life when they don’t know Christ. *shudder*

~Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín – Movie was wayyyyyy better.

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What have you been reading lately?

Eva

mini movie reviews {#3}

I’m not going to be able to do a ‘what I’ve been reading/watching’ for these last three months – #life – so here’s some more mini movie reviews.  I’ll probably do one for books tomorrow or the day after.

The Santa Clause (1994) – Okay for a one-time watch, but not much more.  However, Tim Allen is awesome, both in this movie and in Real Life.

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Free Birds (2013) – I found Free Bird’s portrayal of the Pilgrims to be offensive and ignorant.  Besides the voice acting, there’s little to love in this movie.

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) – An old favorite.  Swoon over the music/costumes/romance/Sir Percy himself.  I love how the stories of The Scarlet Pimpernel and El Dorado are combined.

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From Time to Time (2009) – MAN.  This had such great potential!  But all those British actors were wasted on a boring plot.

Enchanted (2007) – The songs in here are brilliantly beautiful.  Plus, Robert.  Just…Robert.  Amy Adams is a sparkling presence, as usual, and the whole thing fits together like, well, how the glass slipper fit Cinderella’s foot.

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The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004) – And speaking of princesses, this film was a delightful romp.  Not A+ quality entertainment, but plenty enjoyable nonetheless.

Rio Bravo (1959) – Dean Martin. ❤  That’s all.

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Dangerous Crossing (1953) – A typical film noir.  Sort of a ‘The Lady Vanishes’ plot; intriguing without being too predictable.

How the West Was Won (1962) – The best thing about HTWWW, besides all the familiar faces, is the whole Epic Family Saga.  Definitely one of my favorite genres (if it is a genre) and I thought it was done quite well here.

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Tangled: Before Ever After (2017) – No, no, no, no, NO.  What have you done with my beloved characters?!

The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) – Um…wow.  This one really blew me away.  All the villains, for one.  And the FEELS.  Serious feels. (This is the only Batman movie I’ve watched, by the way.  EDIT: Besides his semi-major role in The LEGO Movie.)  Robin was nowhere near as bad as I thought he’d be.  And there was a Tom Cruise cameo (sort of) which made the whole thing even better.

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What movies have you been watching lately?

Eva

my top ten favorite disney songs

After spending the last few days immersing myself in the brilliant song-writing skills of Alan Menken (thanks to Tangled and Enchanted) I felt like sharing a few of my favorite Disney songs with all of you.  Of course, this list represents only a tiny fraction of all the Disney (and Pixar!) tunes I love – and don’t get me started on instrumental scores.  Basically, if it’s Disney (and especially if it’s Menken or the Sherman brothers) chances are I’m going to love it.

10. ‘Be Our Guest’ – Beauty and the Beast

This song truly makes me feel welcome, if that makes any sense, and it never fails to put a smile on my face.

9. ‘Reflection’ – Mulan

The first time I watched Mulan, I shook my head inwardly at ‘Reflection’ and categorized it as “just another Disney princess song”.  But Lea Salonga’s impassioned singing and the words themselves now tug at my heartstrings.  Just a little bit.

8. ‘Once Upon a Dream’ – Sleeping Beauty

A sweet moment in the film and one of Disney’s most iconic love songs.

7. ‘How Far I’ll Go’ – Moana

I haven’t seen Moana yet, but this song always gets to me.  The melody, Moana’s voice, the quiet (though building) desperation…Disney’s “I want” songs might be cliched, but they can also be wonderful.

6. ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’ – Mulan

LISTEN to this song.  Isn’t it just about the most epic thing you’ve ever heard???

5. ‘A Whole New World’ – Aladdin

My mom said that this song was the ‘Let It Go’ of the 90’s and I can believe it.  And it is a beautiful Disney love song, one of their best.

4. ‘Something There’ – Beauty and the Beast

Weird opinion here: I like this song better than ‘Beauty and the Beast’.  It’s feelsy and, y’know, beautiful and such a good example of how a relationship can realistically develop (instead of insta-love).

3. ‘Feed the Birds’ – Mary Poppins

The only song on this list from a live-action Disney film.  This one always makes me cry, mostly from the incredibly emotional connections to Saving Mr. Banks.  And apparently it was Walt Disney’s favorite song. ❤

2. ‘I See the Light’ – Tangled

I just watched Tangled last night and just…YES.  It blew me away all over again.  In my opinion, Eugene and Rapunzel are Disney’s best couple and ‘I See the Light’ is the most romantic Disney song/moment ever.  I love everything about it so much.

1. ‘Go the Distance’ – Hercules

Though I don’t much care for the movie as a whole, this song is my favorite Disney song.  It’s inspiring and all-around awesome.

So, there’s my list.  What are some of your favorite Disney songs?

Eva

five movies that remind me of summer

As requested, here’s my list of five movies that remind me of summer, a companion to this post. (By the way, none of the movies on my list are adaptions of the books on my previous list, though most – if not all – remind me of summer.  I thought it would be nice to branch out a little.)

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~The Magnificent Seven (1960)Westerns almost always make me think of summer (unless they’re Winter Westerns, like The Secret of Convict Lake)…but especially Mag7.  There’s that gorgeous, brilliantly blue sky (you can only get that shade of blue in the summer, people) and dustiness and heat with the occasional bits of shade and all the sunflower decorations for the fiesta.  Love it!

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~Roman Holiday (1953) -Who doesn’t want to have a day in the sun like Princess Ann does?  A haircut, gelato, a motorcycle ride, strolls with a Certain Handsome Actor, a party, an impromptu swim (the best kind), and all under the hot Italian sun.  What could be lovelier?

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~Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)There’s the jungle.  There’s the desert.  They’re both pretty warm, I’d think, which automatically brings summer to mind, whether it actually is summer or not. (Probably not, though, since Indy’s teaching that class.)  Of course, you also have the bit in Nepal, which is all wintery, but still.  I think Raiders is basically the definition of a summer blockbuster, so there’s that as well.

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~Tangled (2010) – This movie is light and fun, though it still manages to come through on an emotional level.  Probably the main thing that makes me associate this film with summer is the way the sun is used throughout.  (I’ve read that some people say that the people in Tangled worship the sun or something, but that’s just stupid.  Really.  Just because Canadians put maple leaves on everything doesn’t mean we’re tree worshipers.)  Tangled is a golden movie that always makes me feel better.  Just like summer!

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~The Sound of Music (1965) – A joyous, summery film.  Need I say more?

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What are some movies that remind you of summer?

Eva

five books that remind me of summer

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Summer is no school and a billion hours of free time and wood-smoke and freshly cut grass and reading outside (curled up in a hammock, if you’re lucky) and all that awesome stuff.  Mostly the reading, though, if you’re a bookaholic like me.  Anyway, these are a few books that remind me of summer in some way and are therefore perfect for summer reading.

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~Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – You’ve now got the time to read this, right?  GWTW is a delicious read and the pages fly by quickly because Margaret Mitchell was a fabulously cinematic author.  Plus, there’s all the bragging rights that go with finishing this one.

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~The Outsiders by S.E. HintonI believe this book takes place in autumn…?  Maybe.  But it still makes me think of summer (maybe the movie’s to blame for that, ’cause all I can think of is Johnny and Ponyboy hiking through farmland and it looks so hot out there).  But I adore this book any season.

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~To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Right from the start, you know that a whole lot of this book is going to take place during summertime.  It’s just the facts.  I mean, right on the first page Jem says that everything started the summer Dill came.  Then, too, the atmosphere of oppressive heat permeates this book, no doubt about it.

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~Shane by Jack Schaefer – I remember reading this last year, all in one sitting (I think), curled up on a chair with golden sunlight spilling everywhere. #goodtimes

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~Holes by Louis Sachar – This one is pretty self-explanatory, in my opinion.  The desert is blazing hot and all the kids are at what’s kiiiiind of like summer camp (though in the very loosest sense of the word), so, yeah, it’s pretty summery.  Just not in that sit-back-and-drink-a-glass-of-lemonade-and-relax-in-the-shade way.

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Interestingly enough, all five of these books have excellent film adaptions and I think that partially contributes to my visual impression of each story.  Just a thought.  If y’all are interested, I might do a ‘five movies that remind me of summer post’.  Let me know in the comments!  And I’d also love to know what books remind you of summer.

 

Eva