Sunday, August 5, 2007

"La Yuma"

Why do Cubans call our country la Yuma?

It has to do with a 1957 film starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin, 3:10 to Yuma. It’s a Western tale of morality and courage based on an Elmore Leonard short story.

It’s said that it was screened in Cuba at a time when most of the movie fare came from the Soviet bloc, and it caused a big sensation among Cubans. So much so that it gave rise to one of the great oddities of Cuban slang: the use of the Arizona town’s name as a nickname for the United States.

I say “it’s said” because that widely told account of the origin of the term comes with many variations. Maybe some readers will add some of their own.

Now why is it possible that the nickname will stick for a few generations more?

Because a remake is in the works and set for release next month.

Russell Crowe gets the Glenn Ford role of Ben Wade, the outlaw who must be nabbed, put on the train, and made to stand trial.

If you want to know the ending, see the movie for yourself.

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