In the Dark

In Contention

3:10 to Yuma
Produced by Tree Line Films
Directed by James Mangold
Screenplay by Michael Brandt and Halsted Welles
Distributed by Lionsgate

The Nanny Diaries
Produced and distributed by The Weinstein Company
Directed and written by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini

3:10 to Yuma began as a 15-page Elmore Leonard short story, as bare and uninflected as an early Hemingway narrative.  Unlike Hemingway, however, Leonard wasn’t crafting a literary iceberg.  There’s no seven-eighths of meaning beneath his visible one-eighth of narration.  What you saw is what you got.  Not that this is a flaw.  There is something to be said for a narrative that simply means what it says, no more, no less.

 

On the page, the story efficiently pits two characters against each other: an outlaw in his early 20’s and a marshal a few years older.  The kid has no responsibilities other than to the gang he rides with; the marshal has a wife and three children, and a code of honor.  The two men come together when the marshal is given the assignment to transport the outlaw to the town of Contention, Arizona.  His mission is to put the criminal convicted of robbery and murder on the train that will take him to his just deserts in the Yuma Territorial Prison.  After reaching...

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