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The Naked Spur

The Naked Spur (1953)

Director: Anthony Mann
Writers: Sam Rolfe, Harold Jack Bloom
Cast: James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan, Ralph Meeker, Millard Mitchell
Genre: Western, Action-Thriller

"A bounty hunter trying to bring a murderer to justice is forced to accept the help of two less-than-trustworthy strangers."

The Naked Spur is one damn good western! It's intelligent, exciting and it kept me on my toes. It reminded a bit of Treasure of the Sierra Madre in just how desperate people can get, when huge sums of money are involved. The on-location shooting in the wilderness of Colorado does wonders for the film. I mean the trees and mountains should get an acting credit! The film has a rugged beauty that amplifies the story at hand.

Speaking of actors, hot damn! this has got a talented bunch. That's Robert Ryan as the free wheelin' hombre with a price on his head. And that little filly with the dirty face is none other than Janet Leigh, before she took that infamous shower at the Bates Motel.

And the grisly looking prospector is played to flamboyant perfection by Millard Mitchell. He's quite colorful and so is Ralph Meeker in a slimy way...He's an ex soldier with a dubious past and a dishonorable discharge. Oh, and the man with the gun, is the bounty hunter played by legendary James Stewart. Who's not as nearly as kindly as you might think.

This is properly called an action-thriller-western. The scenes of climbing the cliff side and later of trying to cross a raging river (no not that river, it's a BIG one!)...those scenes rival in excitement anything I've seen in any western.