August 21, 2007
We are putting the new Russell Crowe-Christian Bale movie, 3:10 to Yuma on the cover of the next issue of True West. Henry Beck has written a great piece and landed a very cool interview with Elmore Leonard (the author of the original story). They snuck the movie last Monday in Scottsdale and Peter Fonda, who’s also in the film was on hand to talk to the screening audience. I was in Guatemala, but one of my friends caught the sneak, and here is our exchange.
“I don't remember what happened in the original movie with Glenn Ford - it's been many years since I've seen it. And I haven't read the short story by Elmore Leonard, so I don't know how this new movie differs from them. But there were some holes in the plot. Do you ever watch a movie and yell at the screen, 'Don’t go in there!', or 'What are you doing that for?!!!' There are a few of those moments in this film. The stand-off at the end was not too realistic. I thought what Russell Crowe's character does at the very end was extremely preposterous until I noticed one small detail, and then I thought maybe it's not so unbelievable, for a story that was over the top to begin with.
“I don't think this is supposed to be a realistic western. It's more in the vein of Quentin Tarantino—a little strange, very violent, and as Peter Fonda says, 'character driven.' It reminds me of most modern cop/prisoner films, where you have to suspend your disbelief quite frequently. I mean, was Midnight Run believable? Or 48 Hours? Or Coogan's Bluff? No, but they were very entertaining!
"I don't think the plot holes will keep people from seeing it, because the acting and action are so good. By the way, someone says in the movie that Contention, Arizona is 80 miles from Bisbee. I think it's really more like 25 miles. Just one thing that bugged me! And while watching this, I wondered if they really had to go from Bisbee to Contention to catch a train to Yuma.
"I also forgot to mention that during the filming, a horse was put down because of an accident. He ran into a camera dolly, with a long arm sticking out, mounted on a truck. The rider was an Indian (can't remember what tribe) who broke his shoulder, and punctured a lung if I remember correctly, and was in the hospital for the rest of the shoot. He was supposed to be in Russell Crowe's gang. Peter Fonda said he went to visit him every day - and Peter was the only one of the cast who visited him at all."
On a scale of one to ten, how much did you enjoy the film?
“I would give the film a 7 1/2.
1) Great acting by Bale, Foster, and Crowe.
2) Beautiful scenery, including desert, mountains, high desert snow, and one chase scene shot in what must have been an abandoned train tunnel.
3) Almost non-stop action, including a fight scene with a Gatling gun mounted on a stage coach.
1) Occasionally weak plot
P.S. By the way, someone says in the movie that Contention, Arizona is 80 miles from Bisbee. I think it's really more like 25 miles. Just one thing that bugged me! And while watching this, I wondered if they really had to go from Bisbee to Contention to catch a train to Yuma."
Yes, as a matter of fact, you would have to catch the train at Contention to get to Yuma, from Bisbee. The connections are: Contention to Benson, change trains, then on through Tucson, Casa Grande, Gila Bend and on to Yuma. Interesting."
Also, when I was in the eighth grade, we came to Phoenix for a state student council confab. I represented Kingman Junior High school as the student body president and I think Jeri Penrod, Lynn L. and Charlie Waters also came along. Our principal Blaine Benson and the student council sponsor, Mrs. Plummer, also acted as our chaparones. We stayed at the San Carlos Hotel in downtown Phoenix and attended a movie at the Fox Theatre. I remember two instances distinctly. When we were walking to the theatre, a bum hawked a lugie right off the sidewalk (growing up sheltered in Kingman I had never seen such behavior). And the movie was 3:10 to Yuma starring Glenn Ford. I sat next to Mrs. Plummer, and I remember that at one point in the movie Glenn Ford is sitting on a bed in a hotel in handcuffs. He makes a movement and the bed squeaks. He says, "Must be the bridal suite." I was mortified at the sexual innuendo! My head was as small as a pea and throbbing. I couldn't believe I was sitting next to Mrs. Plummer and hearing this decadent dialogue!
And that's all I remember of the entire movie.
“I don’t agree with those who say, ‘Isn’t it terrible what Hollywood did to your book.’ Hollywood hasn’t done anything to my books – the books are right over here on the shelf, untouched.”
—Brian Garfield, “Deathwish”
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