James Mangold’s Oscar-nominated 3:10 to Yuma makes its arrival on a 4K Ultra HD SteelBook available exclusively at Best Buy.
3:10 to Yuma‘s new 4K UHD release comes one day before the film’s 15th anniversary. For some reason, I had thought that the film had premiered during the Toronto International Film Festival. Instead, the film’s release came just before TIFF and was ineligible as a result. This came about because of Lionsgate’s strategy to avoid some of the Westerns being released later in 2007. Because of the earlier release, it also meant the film would get a Blu-ray release in during prime awards season in January 2008. For the most part, their efforts failed because the film earned two Oscar noms and a SAG nom for Best Cast Ensemble. It fell short of a Best Picture nomination although it might have picked it up with the Academy had expanded to 10 films.
Arizona 1884. Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is a Civil War veteran and a rancher. He’s the one who volunteers to bring in outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to the “3:10 to Yuma” so that he can stand trial. The mission becomes easier said than done, what with the violence and all. And yet, the two individuals are also on a journey and it all comes to a climax at the train station in Contention.
This isn’t your typical Western where good triumphs over evil. While Evans does the job in getting Wade to the train, his own fate is not pretty. Meanwhile, there is also no telling what will happen to Wade at the end. It’s sort of open-ended. Could he possibly be planning an escape? We’ll never truly know in all likelihood. I want to say this about the ending: they change it from the original film and even the short story itself. Unlike this version, Dan Evans lived in the 1957 film.
Once upon a time, Westerns used to frequently grace the big screen. Nowadays, not so much. You could make one today and people would just refer to it as a period film. It allows for themes that you could utilize in contemporary settings but Westerns also bring about all sorts of action and drama. Mangold isn’t basing the movie on any sort of fact but even at that, Westerns have also become a myth through how Hollywood has portrayed them. As Mangold says, the American West has become fantasized on screen.
There are numerous bonus features included with the film and they bring some extra context to James Mangold’s vision for the Western. They also shine a light on the outlaws and gangs of this era. For one, this is a remake but compared to the 1957 film, Mangold decided to open up the Elmore Leonard’s story. The transcontinental railroad is a big deal in the film–one, because Dan Evans is on a journey in and of itself, and two, because of its impact in post-Civil War America. In many ways, this doesn’t happen without Lewis and Clark’s journey decades earlier in finding a waterway to the Pacific Ocean. Anyway, the west was very much in a different place in terms of what we’re seeing on the big screen.
This is the sort of film that works best because they are filming on location. You’re able to get something out of your actors that you can’t get on a soundstage. In terms of the production design, they build Contention from scratch. Unfortunately, they ran out of money to finish building sets so there are sequences where Bale and Crowe are running through buildings that are still under construction. The location where they film Bisbee was also restored so that they could film the movie. There’s a lot of New Mexican landscapes that make their way on screen. The film is also beautifully lensed by Mangold’s longtime cinematographer Phedon Papamichael.
Oscar-nominated composer Marco Beltrami gets his chance to compose a Western. His music reflects a style similar to that of the Sergio Leone films. Where does the film need music and where do you just let it breathe? This is where both composer and director mesh well together. Beltrami walks us through his work in a short featurette. In any event, his work on this film earned him an Oscar nomination. Speaking of sound, the sound mixing team earned the film its other Oscar nomination. Both noms go hand in hand because they lower the volume of the gun shots in order to let the score have the spotlight.
I strongly recommend taking a deep dive into the bonus features. Most of them are legacy features to my understanding. Beyond the film itself, there’s incredible insight on the outlaws and gangs of the era as well as the transcontinental railroad. The latter of which was a true game-changer for the American West and the US in general. Because of the railroad, people could travel from one area of the country to another. It opened up a path for immigration and Western development in general. The other thing is that wagons would follow the train lines, which were a predecessor to today’s modern interstate system. There’s certainly something to say about the treatment of Native Americans during this era, of course, but that’s another article in general.
Thanks to James Mangold, Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, and the rest of the cast and crew, 3:10 to Yuma is an epic Western in its own right.
- Audio Commentary With Director James Mangold
- “3:10 to Score” Featurette
- “Sea to Shining Sea” Documentary
- “A Conversation with Elmore Leonard” Featurette
- “The Guns of Yuma” Featurette
- Historical Timeline of the West (Blu-Ray Only)
- Inside Yuma: An Exclusive Blu-ray Disc Interactive Experience
- “Destination Yuma” Making-Of Documentary
- “An Epic Explored” Featurette
- “Outlaws, Gangs, and Posses” Documentary
- Deleted Scenes
DIRECTOR: James Mangold
SCREENWRITERS: Halsted Welles and Michael Brandt & Derek Haas
CAST: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Peter Fonda, Gretchen Wol, Ben Foster, Dallas Roberts, Alan Tudyk, Vinessa Shaw, Logan Lerman
Lionsgate released 3:10 to Yuma in theaters on September 7, 2007. Grade: 4.5/5
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