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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Same Old Song and Yuma X Two

Once again, here I am lamenting the lack of theatre updates here for a while. Again, most of what I write about here in terms of plays will be shows that:
1) I have seen
2) I enjoyed
3) you still have time to see yourself

If any of those three criteria aren't met, I don't feel it's worth writing about. Lately, though, the difficulty has been in meeting the first criteria.
It continues to astound me that, as of today, I have seen 44 plays and/or musicals in 2008, and I still find myself having to say, "Sorry I missed . . ." or "Hey, I really meant to see you in . . ." to most of the theatre folk I encounter on the web or out in the real world.
There's a lot to see here in the Denver-area theatre-wise. There really, really is.
I am still working on some solutions that will result in more frequent postings from the Big Bad Wolf here, and those will be forthcoming.
In the meantime, I'd like to share with you the most recent results of one of my little movie proclivities.
Sometimes I like to try to watch both the original and re-make of a film in the same week (or in the case of Gaslight, the same day.) In order, if possible.
In the case of 3:10 to Yuma, I actually watched the films in reverse order, starting with 2007's "how-is-it-an-English-guy-and-an-Australian-guy-can-play-American-cowboys-better-than-we-can"
oater starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe.
This newer version is action-packed, with compelling performances from the leads and a particularly notable performance from Ben Foster (an American! Yee-ha!) as the chilling Charlie Prince. This is a Western for people who don't like (or think they don't like) Westerns. Interesting bit of trivia: when the clock strikes three in the film it is exactly ten minutes until we see the arrival of the 3:10 train bound for Yuma. Timing is everything. (RTD? Hello? This is not a science-fiction concept!)
Now the 1957 version is shorter and focuses just a little more on the psychological aspects of the story and less on the blazing pistols, but it is no less fun to watch. I would describe it as "cowboy noir" because so much care is given to lighting, camera angles, and gritty storytelling.
I would be hard-pressed to pick a superior between the two films. Both stand on their own as great Westerns that stand apart from the genre.
Do what I did. See them both. (Though seeing them in the same week may be a bit much for the less movie-nerdy among you.)

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