Posts Tagged ‘van heflin’

3:10 To Yuma

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

3:10 to Yuma (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Tagline – Drink the whisky… Love the woman… Try to stay alive till the 3:10 pulls out of town!

Starring – Glenn Ford (Ben Wade), Van Heflin (Dan Evans), Felicia Farr (Emmy), Richard Jaeckel (Charlie Prince).

Released – August, 1957

Directed By – Delmer Daves

Produced By – Columbia Pictures Corporation

Distributed By – Columbia Pictures Corporation

Description – Small-time rancher Dan Evans is struggling, along with his family, to survive. They are in the midst of a serious drought that threatens to wipe out their very existence.

While riding with his two sons they witness a stagecoach robbery, but are powerless to do anything. Outlaw Ben Wade now ups the ante by coldly murdering both the stagecoach driver and one of his own men who the driver was using as a shield.

After the robbery and murder, Wade and his men ride into Bisbee, Arizona and head for the saloon. Not wanting to stay too long, for fear of a posse, the men are ready to leave. Ben decides to stay a little longer in order to romance a barmaid.

The posse does arrive and Ben is captured. His most loyal follower, Charlie Prince, escapes and let’s the other members of the gang know of Ben’s capture. The people of the town are fearful of what the gang might do and come up with a plan to get Ben out of Bisbee. The plan will require the help of two volunteer’s to sneak Wade to the town of Contention and onto the afternoon train… the 3:10 to Yuma.

The stageline owner offers $200. to anyone who will volunteer. After nearly three years of drought, and desperate for the money, Dan Evans volunteer’s. The only other man in town to volunteer is the town drunk.

Their journey begins with a stop at Dan’s ranch where Wade charms Dan’s wife just to get under his skin. After dark, the group head to Contention City arriving at daybreak. They take a room at the hotel and begin the long wait for the train to Yuma.

Here the psychological game begins. Wade reminds Dan of his wife and family and what might happen to them if Dan is killed. He also tries to bribe Dan with enough money to help him save his ranch. Nothing works.

As the hours pass, Wade’s gang arrives in town with the threat that anyone who tries to get Wade on the train will be killed. It’s now 3 o’clock and time to get to the train platform. Fate will dictate the next few minutes and just how much blood will be shed.

NOTABLE: 3:10 to Yuma was filmed at the Columbia/Warner Brothers Ranch in Burbank, California, on location in Arizona, near Elgin, Sedona, Willcox, Texas Canyon and in the Old Tucson historic district.

Glenn Ford was originally offered the role of Dan Evans. He refused, preferring the role of Ben Wade.

Joan Crawford In Possessed

Monday, August 12th, 2013

In this 1947 Warner Brothers film noir, Joan Crawford plays Louise Howell Graham, an unstable woman with an obsession for ex-lover David Sutton, played by Van Heflin, and her resulting madness.

The film begins with Crawford’s character, Louise, dazed and walking the streets of Los Angeles looking for “David.” She enters a diner where she collapses and is taken to the psychiatric ward of a nearby hospital. In an effort to understand the nature of her problem, Dr. Harvey Willard coaxes Louise to relate her story. How did she end up this way, and what pushed her over the edge?

In the state of Washington, Louise had been working as a nurse caring for the wife of Dean Graham, played by Raymond Massey. Engineer David Sutton, who is both a neighbor and friend of Dean shares a casual relationship with Louise. Casual, that is, to David. However, Louise is completely intoxicated with David and believes herself so in love with him that she feels she will burst if she does not express these feelings along with her desire to marry him. Louise is certain that David must feel the same about her.

He does not. Not only is David not in love with Louise, he is angered by her smothering possessiveness. The rejection shocks Louise who demands that they stop seeing one another for good. Dean has been unaware of the affair between his wife’s nurse and his friend and neighbor. One day David comes over to talk with Dean to ask him for a recommendation as David has an opportunity for a great job in Canada. Louise, unable to control her obsessive feelings toward David, overhears the conversation and begs David to take her with him to Canada. He refuses and leaves without her.

Shortly after, tragedy strikes the Graham family. Mrs. Graham drowns while Louise is away at the local village. Already distraut over David’s leaving, Louise is now racked by guilt over the death of Mrs. Graham. Had she only not gone to the village, the death would never have occurred.

That evening, Dean Graham’s daughter Carol confronts Louise accusing her of having an affair with her father that drove her mother to drown herself. Louise denys the false accusation, but the denial does not satisfy Carol’s suspicions.

Louise’s emotional stability is being pushed to the limit. With David gone, the death of Mrs. Graham, and Carol’s accusation, Louise slips closer and closer to the edge.

As Louise tries to remove David from her life he returns from Canada. His reappearance and actions now seem as though he is taunting her love for him and constantly reminding her that she will never be able to have him in the way that she wants.

Unexpectedly, Dean Graham proposes marriage to Louise. Though she does not love Dean, Carol accepts the proposal believing that this will enrage and make David jealous. David crashes their marriage ceremony and when introduced to the grown up Carol immediately begins to take an keen interest in her. Louise’s plan has backfired. Not only does David not show any jealousy she herself becomes jealous of David’s interest in Carol.

Once the relationship becomes serious between David and Carol, Louise starts to have delusions and hallucinations about the reality that is around her, and often times cannot discern between what is real and unreal.

A final confrontation between David and Louise can only lead to tragedy.

The story of Possessed reveals the agonizing and torturous experience of a scorned lover who is torn apart by the unrequited love of someone who toys with the rejection.

This 1947 film noir was one of Joan Crawford’s finest screen performances earning her an academy award nomination for best actress.



Friday, February 8th, 2013

Possessed [Blu-ray]

Tagline – Love can be maddening!

Starring – Joan Crawford (Louise Howell), Van Heflin (David Sutton), Raymond Massey (Dean Graham), Geraldine Brooks (Carol Graham).

Released – July, 1947

Directed By – Curtis Bernhardt

Produced By – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – Walking the streets of Los Angeles alone and dazed, Louise Howell looks for David. She enters and collapses in a diner from which she is brought to the psychiatric ward of a hospital. While there she is gently coaxed into telling her story.

Louise works as a private nurse, in the state of Washington, taking care of Dean Graham’s wife Pauline. She has a romantic relationship with engineer David Sutton, a neighbor of the Grahams. Louise is in love with David and her love is becoming more and more of an obsession.

She wants very badly to marry David, but he does not return her feelings at the same level, and is increasingly annoyed at Louise’s possessiveness. So much so, that he breaks off their relationship.

Wanting to move on with his career, David speaks with Dean about an opportunity in Canada. He hopes that Dean will recommend him for the job. Dean is unaware of the previous relationship between Louise and David. This conversation is overheard by Louise who begs David to take her to Canada with him. He refuses, and after getting the job leaves for Canada.

Shortly after, while Louise is in the village, the emotionally unstable Pauline Graham drowns herself. After the funeral, David asks Louise to remain in his home and help with his son Wynn and college-age daughter Carol. This does not make Carol happy, and she accuses Louise of having an affair with her father.

David returns from Canada and Louise’s obsessive emotions begin to resurface. She is so upset by still not being able to have David that she quits her job at the Graham house. However, Dean confesses his love for her and asks her to marry him. Although she does not love him she accepts.

Carol, after speaking with her mother’s doctor, realizes that her suspicions of an affair between her father and Louise were incorrect and she apologizes to Louise. They attend a concert together and run into David.

This meeting sets the stage for Louise’s obsessive feelings toward David to spiral out of control. She leaves the concert, and once home begins to hallucinate that Carol and David are plotting against her and that she had killed Pauline Graham. Now fearing for her own sanity Louise sees a doctor who informs her that she may possibly be suffering from schizophrenia and suggests she see a psychiatrist.

She returns home and asks Dean for a divorce. He suggests that a vacation my help with her problems and any thoughts of divorce should be put on hold. They go away to the beach house where Pauline died and while there Louise again begins to hallucinate. This time Louise believes she hears Pauline’s voice telling her to kill herself because she was responsible for Pauline’s death.

She tells Dean about this and he is again able to calm her fears and they return home. Together they decide to go dancing as a way to relax, but while at the dance, run into David and Carol who announce to them that they are engaged to be married.

With this news, Louise’s obsessive feelings of love for David take a tragic turn toward insanity. Before Louise’s spiraling emotional cycle can end, someone else will lose their life.

NOTABLE: Possessed received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Joan Crawford).

To help prepare for her role, Joan Crawford visited hospital mental wards and talked extensively with psychiatrist’s. She has said that this was the most difficult role she had ever played. Crawford would be sued by a former female mental patient who claimed that the actress had observed her without permission. The suit was later dropped.

The role of Louise Howell was originally offered to Bette Davis who had to turn the role down because she was pregnant.

This motion picture was the film debut of actress Geraldine Brooks.

Personal Note: One of my favorite films noir, with a great performance by Joan Crawford along with strong supporting work, most notably by Van Heflin.

One of the early films to focus on mental illness and extremely well done.


The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

Monday, January 9th, 2012

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack)

Tagline – Fate drew them together… and only murder could part them!

Starring – Barbara Stanwyck (Martha Ivers), Van Heflin (Sam Masterson), Lizabeth Scott (Antonia ‘Toni’ Marachek), Kirk Douglas (Walter O’Neil), Judith Anderson (Mrs. Ivers).

Released – July, 1946

Directed By – Lewis Milestone

Produced By – Hal Wallis Productions

Distributed By – Paramount Pictures

Description – Iverstown, Pennsylvania, 1928; On a rainy night young Martha Ivers and her friend Sam Masterson are planning to run away. Martha, whose parents are both dead, wants to escape her wealthy and domineering aunt, and Sam needs a new life in a new location. They don’t make it.

Later that evening, in Martha’s home, Sam visits with the hope that they still may be able to get away, but is forced to hide when hearing Martha’s aunt approach. As the aunt tries to hit Martha’s cat with her cane, in the hallway at the top of the stairs, Martha, trying to protect her cat, causes her aunt to fall down the stairs killing her.

This is witnessed by Walter O’Neil, the son of Martha’s tutor. Walter agrees to hide the truth telling both his father and the police that there was an intruder. Sam, sure he will be considered a suspect, runs away and joins the circus.

The three childhood friends now have a fateful bond.

Walter’s father uses his influence over Martha to move into the mansion and control her life. So much so that a few years later he forces Martha to marry his son Walter, after having blackmailed Martha to testify against an innocent man who is convicted of the crime and executed. Martha’s testimony was an effort to protect herself and Sam, who would surely have been charged with the crime.

Eighteen years pass and Walter O’Neil is now the district attorney. Martha has used her inheritance to build a large and successful business. On the surface, the couple appears to have everything anyone could want. But, this is a one-sided marriage. Walter loves Martha, but she does not love him. Her heart still carry’s feelings for Sam.

Sam is now a drifter and gambler who, while in the area, has an automobile accident that causes him to wait in town while his car is repaired. Martha is thrilled to hear that Sam is in town, but Walter fears that Sam has returned to blackmail the couple.

With the thought of blackmail, and his jealousy for Sam regarding Martha, Walter arranges to have Sam beaten and run out of town. The plan fails and with Martha’s suggestion that she and Sam murder Walter so that they can be together, Sam realizes that he really does not love Martha.

Just how far will Martha go to insure that she gets what she wants?

NOTABLE: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers received on Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Original Story.

This motion picture marked the film debut of screen legend Kirk Douglas.

Personal Note: As any fan of film noir knows, this is excellent noir. For Martha, Walter, and Sam, it was fate that their childhood relationships would lead to obsessive love and murder.

If you haven’t seen it, be sure you do. This is a gripping story with strong performances.


Shane – One of the Western Genres Best

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

April, 1953Shane, starring Alan Ladd, will be remembered as one of the best Westerns ever made at Paramount Studios, or for that matter anywhere else. 

Directed by George Stevens, Shane is the story of of a gunslinging stranger turned guardian angel. Accurate characterizations highlight this tale as it is told from the viewpoint of a young boy. This excellent Western finds local homesteaders in the middle of a range war with the terror being very skillfully provided by Emile Meyer, and the always entertainingly villainous Jack Palance.

A classic Western with beautiful Cinematography of the Wyoming range and a great cast that also includes Van Heflin, Jean Arthur, Ben Johnson, Edgar Buchanan, Elisha Cook, Jr. and Brandon De Wilde as the young boy. Shane is a most entertaining Western that will appeal to everyone.