Here, the porch roof and posts of the ranch house frame Alice Evans as she sees her husband and sons walk toward her, horseless and tired after their initial encounter with Wade:
The saloon doors get used as a frame a bunch of times too. When Ben Wade first sees Emmy:
When he decides to stay in town instead of riding out with his men:
When Dan Evans arrives in town and sees that Wade is still there:
After Ben Wade gets captured, the kids of Bisby crowd around the saloon window, trying to get a glimpse of the famous bad man. Looks like a few adults join in too:
Later, when they arrive at the hotel in Contention City, they use the hotel's back door to frame the four principal participants in the second half of the movie:
Here, they watch from the hotel room's window as Wade's gang begins to arrive in town:
And here, there's just Ben Wade looking out from his little make-shift prison:
Each one of those moments serves to accentuate separateness. Who is shut in or out, who is choosing to walk through a barrier even though reason says they shouldn't.
Now, I'm exceedingly fond of shots that are crammed full of characters. For an intimate drama that focuses mainly on the tension between two men, this movie manages a lot of awesome shots where lots and lots of people fill the frame. I showed a couple of them above, and here are a bunch more.
Ben Wade's gang descending on the saloon in Bisby:
Inside the saloon, where they overwhelmingly outnumber Emmy:
Another one reinforcing how alone she is, surrounded by what we know to be desperadoes:
Emmy caught in the middle of Dan and Ben, when Ben's complicity in the stage hold-up is confirmed:
Now it's Ben who's surrounded, with Dan looming over him:
The townsfolk and stage line owner confer with the marshal on what's to be done with their captive:
Ben Wade has become a spectacle, the Big Bad handcuffed and forced into the very stagecoach he held up hours earlier. Everyone gapes and gawks at him, except Emmy:
Ben having supper with Dan's family, surrounded again:
I love how all those super-full-of-people shots reinforce the fact that, although this movie centers around two men, their actions touch so many other lives. Ben's gang, the people of Bisby, Emmy, Dan's family -- they're all affected by the hold-up, by Ben's capture, by Dan taking Ben to the stage.
Finally, I do think 3:10 to Yuma has a noir-ish feel to its use of images, and here are a few that highlight that. First, here's a beautiful shot of Ben Wade entering the saloon a second time, his shadow looming on the floor:
Later, here's Dan Evans' shadow overpowering Ben:
This is what we first see of Ben Wade and Emmy after their romantic interlude:
Soon after, the camera pulls almost uncomfortably close to them, both their faces alternately in shadow and light:
My favorite shot from the whole movie involves shadows too, with Ben Wade's dark past behind him and the possibility of a light new future ahead:
Then there's this ominous shot of a really creepy chandelier in the hotel's lobby. Something about it looks evil and tarantula-like to me:
Later on, we get the most noir-esque shot of all, when Alice Evans arrives and discovers someone she knows hanging dead from that very chandelier:
That previous shot also highlights another noir-ish framing device used a lot in this movie: positioning the camera high above the characters, or below them. Here's one from slightly below, positioning our hero against the wide, free sky:
Here's another from slightly below:
Camera angles can convey so many things -- in the above picture, it emphasizes that Dan has triumphed over Ben, but puts Ben on a level with the town lawman, and above another character, showing that he hasn't lost as much control as he might seem, and backing up the threat he's making there.
Okay, I could go on all day, sharing beautiful images from 3:10 to Yuma -- I screencapped 126 of them, and even though this is the third post I've written using them, there are still a bunch left. But I'll end with this exterior, shot in Old Tuscon, Arizona, of a lone good guy riding into town. Look at how the mountains box him in, how the buildings overshadow him, and even the cacti seem like unfriendly sentinels.
No, wait, just one more that shows off Glenn Ford's dimples. Maybe at some point I'll just load all the extra pictures into a big photo dump post because they're so delicious.
But I can't leave this one out:
Okay, this is the last one, honest: