Category Archives: van heflin

Fallen and Others

Fallen ~ I’ve never gotten around to seeing this until recently and was surprised at how good it was. Denzel Washington is not just one of our finest actors, but he also has tremendous skill in choosing roles. Even when he stars in action flicks, or like here, borderline horror, he maintains his integrity by playing thinking protagonists as opposed to those who shoot or punch first and thinks later. Fallen also features some great locations in and around Philadelphia, excellent sidekick work from John Goodman and a very chilling performance from Elias Koteas. It’s also interesting to see “Sopranos” brother and sister James Gandolfini and Aida Turturro together pre-“Sopranos.” Definitely recommended.

3:10 to Yuma (2007) ~ I really wanted to like this, especially because folks whose opinions I respect loved this version, but it just couldn’t overcome the original Glenn Ford/Van Heflin flick. In my opinion, while the performances are first class, the story was only made unnecessarily violent and complicated. Just not as good as it could been – this one was a missed opportunity.

Domino ~ Director Tony Scott brings us this sharp and clever bounty hunter flick starring Keira Knightley very against type. Think Quentin Tarantino meets Shoot ‘Em Up meets reality TV. Great fun.

Vanilla Sky ~ This remake of the Spanish Open Your Eyes was a surprise, not just because I never expect much from Tom Cruise flicks, but because folks told me that this was the Cameron Crowe film that Cameron Crowe fans hate. Honestly, as a CC fan, I don’t see his touch, but considering he didn’t write this one I didn’t need to. I liked the twists and turns in the story, although I figured it out early. If I hadn’t this would have been a lot better. Acting-wise, no one is bad but no one stands out either – Cameron Diaz is suitably creepy though.

The Original 3:10 to Yuma

I haven’t seen the new remake of 3:10 to Yuma with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe yet, even though folks I trust have told me it’s a very good flick.

I think part of the reason I haven’t yet seen it is that I can’t get it into my head why it had to be remade. And even more irritating is that when I expressed this question on my LiveJournal, I was hit by a comment that people don’t think older films are worth watching. I’m still dumbstruck by this notion. Wow.

Either way, I was delighted to catch the original Glenn Ford and Van Heflin version of 3:10 to Yuma on OnDemand last night. It’s been some time since I last seen and it was still as great as I remember. In glorious black and white. Ahem.

Glenn Ford plays bad guy Ben Wade as an almost likable villain, but not in a let’s-root-for-the-guy way but more in a charismatic way. But still, this is 1957 and the line between the white hats and the black hats is a thick and decisive one. just as we know how human he is, we also know how evil he is. It’s a dance I wish more modern movies would take. After all, who were the stars of the first four Batman movies of the last decades? Batman or the baddies? There should be a line, dammit.

Van Heflin walks the other side as farmer Dan Evans, a reluctant farmer hero forced into the position to oppose Ben Wade. Wade is captured and a waiting game ensues as a race between his men coming to save him and an oncoming train to prison tick the clock away. Dan must come to terms with what should be done and what he wants to do as Wade tempts him with much-needed money to let him go.

The Elmore Leonard story is more psychological drama than straight western even though all the necessary elements are there. As I said I see little reason for this to be remade as it’s an almost perfect film as it stands. Did it need to be in color? Did there need to be more bloodshed? I don’t get it, but suppose will find out when I see the new one.

In the meantime, if you get a chance to see this one, please do. Great story, and probably some of the better performances by Ford and Heflin – a winner all around in my book. See it.