New to Blu-ray: 3:10 to Yuma (1957)

  • Actors: Glenn Ford, Van Heflin, Felicia Farr, Leora Dana, Henry Jones
  • Director: Delmer Daves
  • Format: Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Release Date: May 14, 2013
  • Run Time: 92 minutes

  • 3:10 to Yuma


             Westerns have long had traditionally clear conceptions of heroes and villains, down to the very presentation of these types based upon the color of their clothing. In the earliest westerns the good guy wore white and the bad guys black, making it very easy for the audience to follow in the age of silent cinema. Delmer Daves’ 3:10 to Yuma was made long after this, in 1957, but the westerns still carried the same polar characterization in its storytelling. 3:10 to Yuma breaks this mold, in a compelling western which is also part character study that drives the story along with contradictory behavior from the “bad guy.”


             The bad guy is Ben Wade, a role that actor Glenn Ford wanted over the role of the heroic farmer Dan Evans, which was instead given to Van Heflin. Wade is an outlaw with a loyal crew following his every order. They are so loyal that there is not even a remark when Wade kills one of his own men during a holdup when he is taken hostage by the driver of the stagecoach. Rather than listen to the driver’s demands, he simply kills both of them quickly and moves on.


             When Wade is captured in a nearby town, it is the loyalty of his crew which brings the biggest threat to his captors. The small town’s law wants to quickly ship Wade away to a bigger city for trial, but is in danger of attack from Wade’s crew in the process. Struggling farmer Evans agrees to take Wade to the train station and accompany him on the 3:10 to Yuma, if they can survive the gang’s attacks until the train departs.


             The suspense is peppered with a number of conversations between prisoner and his captor during this wait, and we learn more about the integrity Evans has and the complexities behind Wade’s own personality. The screenplay was based on an early short story by Elmore Leonard, who has stated this to be one of his favorite adaptations of his work.


             The Blu-ray release includes a newly restored  4K digital film transfer, with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack, as well as an alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack with DTS-HD Master Audio. The disc’s special features include new interviews with Leonard and Glenn Ford’s son, Peter. There is also a booklet insert with an essay from film critic Kent Jones.


    Entertainment Value: 8/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 9/10

    Historical Significance: 8/10

    Disc Features: 7/10




    Dark Skies Blu-ray review

  • Actors: Keri Russell, Jake Brennan, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, Kadan Rockett
  • Director: Scott Stewart
  • Writers: Scott Stewart
  • Producers: Bailey Conway, Bob Weinstein, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Charles Layton, Harvey Weinstein
  • Format: Color, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • Release Date: May 28, 2013
  • Run Time: 97 minutes



             Dark Skies is a moderately entertaining and mildly intelligent thriller, perhaps because writer/director Scott Stewart seems to have taken notes on every successful alien abduction/invasion film before writing his own screenplay. Even his style of direction has a tint of Spielberg lightness to it, despite the darker material about a family under attack from an otherworldly source. There is little about Dark Skies which feels remotely original, I suppose with hope that any ignorant younger audience member won’t be any wiser to the recycled content they are being fed. 


             Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton head up the cast as Daniel and Lacy Barrett, a seemingly ordinary couple with two children living a normal suburban life until they are marked by unseen aliens. A series of strange events begin to occur to the family and Daniel and Lacy struggle to find a way to protect themselves from an unknown assailant. Their only ally is a man whose life has been dedicated to researching and fighting alien invaders. This role is somehow made believable through the talents of J.K. Simmons.


             The frazzled couple discovers that the events are all leading up to the stealing of a child from the home, so they hunker down and plan to fight back. This is somewhat ridiculous in more than one way, proving that Dark Skies is also a film which is unable to stand up to too much scrutiny. Better to just sit back and hope the small thrills are enough for an evening of entertainment. I will say this; Dark Skies attempts to tap into relevant social issues with the storyline, though much of this gets lost with so little of the genre elements able to impress audiences.


             The Blu-ray release includes alternate and deleted scenes, as well as a commentary track with Stewart along with producer Jason Blum, executive producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and editor Peter Gvozdas. The package also has a DVD and an ultraviolet copy of the film.

    Entertainment Value: 7/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10

    Historical Significance: 2/10

    Disc Features: 4/10