3:10 to Yuma (1957)

3:10 to Yuma (1957), directed by Delmer Daves.

A tense, "psychological" western about rancher Van Heflin escorting bad man Glenn Ford to the train. Motives and characterizations are all mixed up: the good man says he is only in it for the money, but obviously also wants some respect from his family. The outlaw is as reasonable as he can be given his work, and has more charm and romance than any of the good folk.

We have more sexual allusion than is common for westerns of the time. Ford dallies with the bar maid (and gets caught because of it) and refers to Helfin's marriage in inappropriate ways. While waiting for the train the two men camp out in the hotel Bridal Suite and Ford tries to "seduce" him with money (for freedom, not sex).

Who would have thought the West was settled by such timid townsfolk? The only stalwart helper is the town drunk (Henry Jones, often seen, but who I always remember as the nasty coroner in Vertigo (1958). But look what happens to him; maybe timidity would have been the better course.

Another famous face from that era: Robert Emhardt, forever the Unpleasant Fat Man. I don't think he ever had a sympathetic role.

Fine b&w photography. Rather good, lyrical score by George Duning, with the theme sung by Frankie Laine.

Remade in 2007.