Watch The Naked Spur
- 1 hr 32 min
The Naked Spur is a 1953 Western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Janet Leigh, and Robert Ryan. The movie follows a former bounty hunter named Howard Kemp (Stewart) who is trying to capture a fugitive named Ben Vandergroat (Ryan) and bring him to justice. Along the way, Kemp meets a deceitful gambler named Jesse Tate (Millard Mitchell) and a young woman named Lina Patch (Leigh), who both become entwined in Kemp's mission.
The Naked Spur is a classic Western film that subverts many of the conventions of the genre. Unlike many Westerns, there are few shootouts or displays of bravado. Instead, the film is more concerned with the psychology of its characters and the ways that they navigate their own moral codes. The film also uses stunning location photography to create a sense of realism and grittiness that would become a hallmark of Mann's Westerns.
At the heart of The Naked Spur is James Stewart's performance as Howard Kemp. Stewart was known for playing likable, wholesome characters in films like It's a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but in The Naked Spur, he plays against type as a morally ambiguous bounty hunter with a dark past. Stewart's performance is nuanced and deeply felt, capturing Kemp's inner turmoil as he struggles to come to terms with his own motivations and desires.
The other standout performance in The Naked Spur comes from Robert Ryan as the fugitive Ben Vandergroat. Ryan was known for playing tough, menacing characters in films like The Set-Up and Bad Day at Black Rock, and his performance in The Naked Spur is no exception. Vandergroat is a slippery, conniving character who constantly manipulates those around him to get what he wants. Ryan's performance is unsettling and memorable, providing a counterpoint to Stewart's more restrained work.
Janet Leigh also gives a strong performance as Lina Patch, a young woman who is initially taken in by Vandergroat's lies but eventually comes to see Kemp's side of things. Leigh brings a sense of vulnerability and empathy to the character, making her a standout in a film dominated by male characters.
The Naked Spur also benefits from its stunning location photography. The film was shot on location in the Rocky Mountains, and the majestic scenery adds a sense of awe and beauty to the proceedings. Mann expertly uses the landscape to create a sense of isolation and danger, as the characters navigate treacherous terrain and contend with unpredictable weather.
Overall, The Naked Spur is a classic Western film that stands the test of time. It's a tense, psychological drama that subverts many of the genre's conventions, featuring memorable performances, stunning location photography, and expertly crafted suspense.
The Naked Spur is a 1953 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 32 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3.