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

mini movie review {#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.)  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

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

the adventures of robin hood (1938) VS. robin hood (1973) VS. bbc robin hood

Olivia from Meanwhile, in Rivendell… is hosting a Robin Hood week and, naturally, I had to join in the fun.  I’m an ardent fan of Robin Hood – the character, the books, the movies, and the TV shows (yes, there is more than one).  It was a bit difficult to decide on what I should write about, as my options were almost limitless, but since movie (and TV show in this case) comparison posts are so much fun, I thought I’d do another one.

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The Adventures of Robin Hood: I think many people view this re-telling of the Robin Hood story as the definitive version, and it’s quite easy to see why.  Many of the plot points from the original legends are brought to the screen in glowing Technicolor – from Robin and Littlejohn’s battle over the bridge to the archery tournament to the return of King Richard.  While the film can be episodic at times, it flows together well.  Two thumbs up!

Robin Hood: This adaption is more a series of entertaining, swashbuckling vignettes than a cohesive whole – and I’m fine with that.  It’s good, solid, entertaining fun.  Not until Prince John calls in all the taxes and Friar Tuck is put in jail does any real plot come together (besides the thread of Robin + Marian throughout).  Still, like I said, it’s good fun and a great interpretation of the Robin Hood legend.

BBC Robin Hood: How do I go about describing the story?  It’s a three-season TV show, so there’s lots of plots and subplots and romances and drama and all that good stuff.  I will say, however, that in terms of accuracy to the original Robin Hood stories, BBC’s adaption falls short.  Very, very short.  Don’t get me wrong; the episodes are still awesome.  They just don’t stick close to all those thrilling tales of old.

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The Adventures of Robin Hood: Errol Flynn seems born to play the role of Robin Hood and he makes the part his own with his customary swagger, feats of derring do, and more than a few glimpses of Robin’s romantic nature (in his scenes with Maid Marian, of course).  Flynn’s delivery of Robin Hood’s speeches stirs the heart and he never misses a beat in the entirety of his performance. (Those sword fights…)

Robin Hood: In many ways, this Robin Hood (appropriately enough, a fox) differs little from Errol Flynn’s portrayal (nothing wrong with that). After all, Robin is supposed to be the brave, bold, daring leader with a dash of cheekiness and plenty of heart.  This Robin has all of that, and more, and there’s something about either Brian Bedford’s voice acting or the animator’s skills (or my own mushy, gushy feels – or all three) that makes me love this Robin Hood the most of any portrayal I’ve seen.  I mean, seriously, when he says “Keep your chin up.  Someday there’ll be happiness in Nottingham again.  You’ll see.” I get this close to crying.  Every. Single. Time.

BBC Robin Hood: For whatever reason, a lot of the show’s fans don’t much care for Robin himself.  I guess I can kind of get that, ’cause he can be a jerk and all, but Gisborne is a murderer and everyone loves him, so… Anyway, Jonas Armstrong’s Robin Hood is much darker than either Errol Flynn’s or Brian Bedford’s.  He’s also a deeper character, more nuanced, more interesting, which only makes sense – it is a TV show, after all, with much time to develop its characters.  I don’t wholeheartedly like this Robin Hood, but I sympathize with him and I can respect him.

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The Adventures of Robin Hood: You’ve got most of the classics here: Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Sir Guy, Maid Marian, Littlejohn, Will Scarlett, Friar Tuck, Much, King Richard…these are staple Robin Hood characters, and each is portrayed about as perfectly as you can get ’em.  Love it.

Robin Hood: There aren’t as many classic characters in this one – and all of them are talking animals (there’s nothing wrong with that, but I feel like it should be pointed out). Skippy & Co. take up a relatively large chunk of the movie, and the only member of Robin’s band that makes it into animation is Littlejohn. (Mayyyybe Friar Tuck.)  There is Allan a Dale, though, which is nice.  And Maid Marian and Prince John and the Sheriff.  And King Richard.  You could say Sir Hiss is a counterpart of Sir Guy, but I don’t see much resemblance.  Overall, in terms of accuracy-to-the-originals, it’s not as good as The Adventures of Robin Hood, but not quite as bad as…

BBC Robin Hood: Okay, sure, a lot of the characters have the same name as their legendary templates, but that’s about where any similarities end.  Marian is a feisty action girl.  Friar Tuck is a warrior priest.  Allan is a trickster.  Much is Robin’s former manservant.  Will Scarlett is a carpenter.  The Sheriff, Sir Guy, and Prince John are appropriately villainous, but BBC gave them each a life of their own.  King Richard is a jerkface (well, at least that’s accurate) and there’s lots of new characters, too.  Like Edward and Djaq and Kate and Isabella.  I do adore most of the characters, though.

-Music-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: Erich Wolfgang Korngold captured the essence of the story of Robin Hood with his incredible score.  It’s bold and daring and instantly recognizable.  Plus #nostalgia for me, especially the bits of scoring when Robin and his men attack the treasure/taxes procession and also when Robin and Littlejohn fight on the bridge.  It’s an awesome score.

Robin Hood: This being an animated Disney film, there are songs.  My favorite is ‘Love’ (I’m still going to do a BBC Robin Hood fan-vid to it someday) – it beautifully encapsulates Robin and Marian’s relationship.  And all the other ones are great, too.

BBC Robin Hood: Okay, so there’s the main theme (this being a TV show) that just is Robin Hood to me.  Plus a great soundtrack throughout the show, plus two songs that are first sung aloud and then used for the duration of the series in their instrumental forms and it tugs on the heartstrings, y’all.  First the song that Alice sings to little Littlejohn, and then the one that Eve sings to Much.  Music is my thing and I love how the show reuses its musical themes to great – and often emotional – effect.

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The Adventures of Robin Hood: The traditional Robin + Marian romance.  Errol Flynn and Olivia de Haviland were paired in a bunch of movies, most of which I haven’t seen, but I doubt anything could match the chemistry they have in this film.  At first, Marian doesn’t care much for Robin (an understatement) but after seeing his true motivation, she quickly falls for him (after all, it’s an under-two-hours-long movie).  A sweet, gentle love story.

Robin Hood: Another lovely romance.  Robin and Marian get a love song, fight side by side at the archery tournament, and get married.  No tragedy, no heartbreak (well, except when Robin’s about to get executed – my heart!), and plenty of shippable moments.  The only complaint I have is that Marian disappears after ‘Phony King of England’ and doesn’t return until the last scene.  Apparently, there was an alternate ending in which Marian found the wounded Robin and hid him/nursed him back to health, which would’ve been EPIC, but anyway…

BBC Robin Hood: *bawls* Sure, they’re annoying in the first season, but adorable in the second.  AND THEN SHE UP AND DIES.  It’s so unfair.  Still, I wholeheartedly ship BBC Robin and Marian.  They’re wonderful together. (And I love all the other ships, too, like Will + Djaq, Much + Eve, and Guy + Meg.)

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The Adventures of Robin Hood: King Richard comes back and squelches Prince John, Sir Guy, and the Sheriff of Nottingham.  Everyone else gets pardoned and lives happily ever after.

Robin Hood: King Richard comes back and squelches Prince John, Sir Hiss, and the Sheriff of Nottingham (+ Trigger + Nutsy).  Everyone else gets pardoned, Robin and Marian marry, and “that’s the way it really happened”. (I refuse to believe differently.)

BBC Robin Hood: King Richard gets captured and imprisoned (I HATE HISTORY), almost everyone dies, and nobody lives happily ever after.  Ugggggh.

-Overall-

It’s a tough choice because each of these versions of Robin Hood is so different.  One is a 1938 Technicolor show-stopper, one is a little-known Disney flick, and one is a uniquely modern BBC production.  It’s difficult to chose!  I think that The Adventures of Robin Hood is closest to the spirit of the original legends.  Disney’s animated adaption is the most fun (definitely) and has the added attraction (for me, at least) of being hugely nostalgic.  And BBC’s Robin Hood is, in turn, enormously awesome and frustrating.

However, I’m going with Robin Hood (1973) as my favorite of the three.  Because I love, love, love it (even more than BBC Robin Hood).

NEVER FORGET THE OUTLAWS.

Eva

mini movie reviews {#2}

Some of the awesome (and not-so-awesome) films I’ve watched in the last several weeks…

Pete’s Dragon (2016) – It started out so good, with the songs and the scenery and all that, and then it devolved into stupidity and boredom.  Plus, Wes Bentley creeps me out. (Ditto for Robert Redford.)

The Sheepman (1958) – Westerns + Glenn Ford = perfect combination.  Shirley MacLaine is growing on me as an actress, too.

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The Shop Around The Corner (1940) – My favorite Jimmy Stewart role of all time; he’s an absolute sweetheart in this!  The story is fun and romantic and wayyyy too adorable.

North by Northwest (1959) – One of Hitchcock’s finest, though not a personal favorite of mine.  James Mason is TOPS, though, and seeing Martin Landau in something other than Mission: Impossible was neat.

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Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959) – Boring.  And there was that freaky thing near the end that makes you wonder just how sane Disney was.  Only thing I liked about this one was Sean Connery.

Pride and Prejudice (1940) – And all the Jane Austen fans say “What?!”.

The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) – One of my mom’s favorites and, like The Four Feathers (also 2002), I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  It was dark and gritty and rather awesome.

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How many of these movies have you seen?  What films have you watched recently?

Eva

high noon VS. 3:10 to yuma

A while back, I compared The Magnificent Seven to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly but they weren’t really alike.  At least, not when compared to how similar High Noon and 3:10 to Yuma (1957 version, of course) are.  I love both these movies, I think they’re both great westerns (two of the greatest ever made), and today I’ll be comparing and contrasting different elements of both films.  Let’s have fun with this, shall we?

-Story-

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High Noon: On the day of his wedding, Marshall Will Kane receives news that Frank Miller, a man he sent to prison, has been released and is coming to take his revenge on Kane.  Kane elects to stick around and wait for Miller.  One by one, the townspeople desert him (including his wife) and he must face Miller alone.

3:10 to Yuma: Dan Evans, a rancher whose cattle are dying from a long drought, witnesses a stagecoach robbery and murder carried out by notorious outlaw, Ben Wade, and his gang.  Through a series of unfortunate events, Dan ends up with the job of getting Wade on the 3:10 train to Yuma, having been deserted by almost everyone else.

-Characters-

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High Noon: Will Kane is a reluctant hero (played with quiet, tired desperation by Gary Cooper) and almost the only truly likable character in the entire film (Helen Ramírez could be another).  The townspeople, almost to a man, are cowardly and fearful.  Harvey is weak.  There aren’t a whole lot of great characters in High Noon, truth be told, but they are real.

3:10 to Yuma: Dan Evans is another reluctant hero, a family man who would only risk his life to such an extent because he needs the money to keep his ranch running/provide for his family. (Well, at first it’s about the money, but later on it’s much more complicated.)  While lots of people run out on Dan in the end, his wife and Alex Potter (the town drunk) stick with him and are good, solid people.  Emmy (played by the intriguing Felicia Farr) is an interesting character as well.

-Villains-

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Because, yes, the villains in both films need their own category.

High Noon: Lee Van Cleef!  The ultimate western bad guy after playing, y’know, The Bad.  Mostly, he just slinks around and doesn’t say much of anything, but…still cool. (Just like in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.)  Frank Miller is sort of bland for all his big reputation – Colby (Van Cleef’s character) and Ben Miller steal the the show for me. (Mainly because Ben is, um, kind of cute.  Sheb Wooley, the guy who plays him, is credited – according to Wikipedia – for originating the Wilhelm Scream.)

3:10 to Yuma: Okayyyyy.  Ben Wade is hands-down my favorite part of this movie (and that was before I started seriously crushing on Glenn Ford).  I’ve always had a certain weakness for great villains, but Wade is the first one I’ve actually liked.  He’s cool and calm and smart.  And charming, to boot.  Plus, he makes some great choices in the end that go to show that he’s not a lost cause where decency is concerned.  As for the rest of his gang…they’re all pretty faceless, except for Richard Jaeckel, who makes a chilling right hand man.

-Music-

High Noon: The theme song is just…wow.  Melancholy, beautiful, even a little heartbreaking.  I love it.  And I love how it’s repeated so often, either in the soundtrack, on the piano in the saloon, or bits of the song proper here and there throughout the film.

3:10 to Yuma: You know, as I started writing this blog post, I was listening to soundtrack suites for both these movies, and the first one I listened to was High Noon.  And I was like “I love this theme song!  Definitely more than 3:10 to Yuma.”  And THEN I listened to 3:10 and it’s so achingly bittersweet and soulful and I really can’t decide.  All I know is that when it starts playing at the end, I get a big lump in my throat.  I like how it’s riffed on in the score and especially how Glenn Ford whistles it off and on a lot.

-Ending-

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SPOILERS.  Like, maaaajor spoilers.

High Noon: Kane faces down Frank Miller and his men.  Amy joins him at the eleventh hour and, together, they defeat The Bad Guys.  Once the danger has passed, the townspeople emerge from their houses, Kane throws his tin star in the dust, and he and Amy drive off.  It’s a powerful, albeit bitter ending, brightened only by the hope that Will and Amy will finally be able to live in peace.

3:10 to Yuma: Evans and Wade end up facing down Prince and the gang together, with Wade eventually choosing to save Evans’ life over escaping.  They jump onto the train together as it pulls out of the station, and Evans shoots Prince, who was running after the train/shooting at them.  As the train passes a waiting Alice and she spots her husband, rain begins to fall and the theme song plays.  It’s rather awesome and emotional and such a relief after the hour or so of nail-biting tension.  Plus, Glenn Ford’s dimples are adorable.

-Overall-

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Sooooo…which film is my favorite?  I don’t know.  I think that High Noon is the better film, that it works together as more of a cohesive whole and all that, but it’s not my favorite of the two.  And I don’t know if 3:10 is my favorite either.  They’re not just excellent westerns, they’re excellent movies in general.  I think High Noon’s story is stronger, but I like the characters in 3:10 to Yuma better.  It’s a toss-up, it really is.

But fine.  If you twisted my arm…

High Noon.  But only by the tiniest fraction.

Have you seen one or both of these films?  Which is your favorite?

Eva

mini movie reviews {#1}

And when I say mini, I mean mini.

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Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951) – Mehhhhhhh.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) – The book transitioned onto the screen so brilliantly, it’s incredible (so is the casting).

Mary Badham and Gregory Peck on the set of To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). The two kept in touch after filming, and she continued to call him Atticus until the day he died. | Awwww...:

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – SUCH a classic; Jimmy Stewart is perfect and so are all the kid actors.

Lifeboat (1944) – The Lady Vanishes has some serious competition for the title of ‘favorite Hitchcock movie ever’.

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Arizona (1940) – Jean Arthur still annoys me, but the story is actually pretty interesting.

Laura (1944)  – Elegant, glamorous, sophisticated, mysterious…am I describing the titular character or the film itself?

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The Violent Men (1955) – #obsessedwithGlennFord

3:10 to Yuma (1957) – #obsessedwithBenWade

Blackboard Jungle (1955) – #obsessedwithRichardDadierandSidneyPoitier

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) – I’ve seen this three times.  Great noir.

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The Birds (1963) – Rod Taylor actually grew on me this time around and I enjoy the small town setting.

Frankenstein (1931) – Boris Karloff was a lovely person, and I mean that un-sarcastically.

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What movies have you seen lately?

Eva