3:10 To Yuma (1957) came up today. (My wife flipped past it on TV this morning.) So I dug up something I’d squirreled away — an interview with writer Elmore Leonard.
Elmore Leonard: “Originally, I heard that Glenn Ford had turned down the role. He thought he was going to be the good guy, which Van Heflin played, the guy who is taking him to prison. But when he found out he was the bad guy, he wanted to do it. I thought, ‘God, he’s gonna be great.’ In the ‘40s and ‘50s, he was kind of a role model, someone you could enjoy or perhaps even imitate to some extent. I remember when we were in high school, we used to button our sport coats and single-breasted suits with the top two buttons because Glenn Ford buttoned his that way in Gilda.”
Ford’s performance in this one is one of the best in 50s Westerns, as good as Stewart in The Man From Laramie (1955) or Wayne in The Searchers (1956). And on the creepy scale, he’s right up there with Mitchum in Cape Fear (1962).
UPDATE: How dare I mention this film and not bring up Van Heflin? To me, this and Shane (1953) would make a nice double bill, with Heflin as shades of more or less the same character.