The Naked Spur

The Naked Spur

DVD - 2006
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Smooth-talking outlaw Ben Vandergroat reasons to his captors, three bounty hunters thrown together by chance. They're taking him to justice in Abilene, but Ben has other ideas.

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t
TravissT
May 20, 2016

Funny how this is grouped with Winchester 73 and Man of the West as most critics' choices as Mann's best Westerns. To me, Naked Spur towers abover the other two, and is in fact one of the 10 best Westerns ever.

First of all, the cast is brilliant, led by always reliable Mr Stewart, who at times seems to be channelling darkness from his fighter pilot/CO experiences in WWII. Then there's the legendary Mr Ryan. Ive seen this film at least five times, and I'm convinced his performance is flawless. Ralph Meeker is a real wild card here in his portrayal of an unusual character--a talkative former Army officer recently dishonorably discharged and of low moral character (civilian occupation amusingly is 'salesman'). He'salways interesting to watch and gives some very creative line readings.
Mitchell skillfully portrays the eccentricities of the lone prospector. And Leigh is outstanding as well in a role much more complex and nuanced than many women's roles in this genre and era.

The story is intriguingly dark--although Ryan is the criminal being hauled back to Kansas, each of the other characters are flawed and commit multiple duplicities. Even the happy ending so endemic of the pre-Wild Bunch Western is tamped down by darkness.

All in all, a great film that deserves to be seen--particularly since it seems fairly unknown to the casual viewer.

f
Fuzzy_Wuzzy
Sep 24, 2014

I Got Spurs That Jingle, Jangle, Jingle!.....

Tough, sweating with tension, and towering as tall as the breathtaking Colorado Rockies, The Naked Spur is simply one of the best Westerns (of the 1950s) ever made.

Set in and around the old west town of Abilene, including its surrounding mountainous region - James Stewart plays Howie Kemp, a no-nonsense, self-styled bounty hunter who, along with his newly acquired partners, Roy and Jess, set out to track down and capture psychotic killer, Ben Vandergroat.

Once Vandergroat has been successfully apprehended, he quickly stirs up tensions between his 3 captors, cleverly playing on their fears, and vanity, and their obvious greed for a bigger cut of the $5000 reward that's on his head. It's plain arithmetic - The money splits 2 ways, better than 3.

Released in 1953 - The Naked Spur is a very satisfying Cowboy Flick, featuring a superb supporting cast. It was directed by the ever-impressive, Anthony Mann, a dude who certainly knew how to deliver a first-rate "Western".

m
Monolith
Sep 28, 2013

I don't think I've ever seen a man more giddy and giggly on his way to the gallows than Robert Ryan in this one. And I concur, voisjoe1, Jimmy Stewart did progress from a happy-go-lucky young guy in his Capra days to a grouchy middle-aged cowboy. He reels in a big prize winner from the river at film's end but Janet Leigh stupidly convinces him it's not a keeper.

voisjoe1 Feb 01, 2012

A good old-fashioned western with James Stewart in his angry guy period. Co-stars Robert Ryan as his nemesis and Ralph Meeker as a scheming and untrustworthy partner. Janet Leigh in an early role as Robert Ryan's girl-friend. The movie is well-balanced with character development and action throughout.

j
Janice21383
Mar 31, 2011

A bit disappointing, considering the talent. The fugitive is not a bad guy, seemingly, and his captors' morals are at least questionable. But someone lost his nerve in the last reel; the baddies are bad, and the goodies turn good, and all ends exactly like a movie. There is a fair amount of innuendo; when Ryan asks Leigh, repeatedly, to "do me", no one is thinking just about a back rub.

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Monolith
Sep 28, 2013

Ben Vandergroat (taking shelter from a rainstorm in a cave): "Hey Lina honey, this weather's creeping into my bones! Can you do me?" Lina Patch (massaging his back): "I wonder if you really need this, or you just like to be rubbed!" Ben Vandergroat: "Same thing. A man needs what he likes."

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