- Actors: Millard Mitchell, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan, Ralph Meeker, James Stewart
- Directors: Anthony Mann
- Format: Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: WarnerBrothers
- DVD Release Date: 15 Aug 2006
- Run Time: 91 minutes
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- ASIN: B000FTCLQW
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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- #6465 in Movies (Movies & TV)
The Naked Spur
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Oscar-nominated story stars Academy Award-winner James Stewart ("It's A Wonderful Life," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "Vertigo") as a driven bounty hunter in pursuit of a ruthless outlaw, Oscar-nominee Robert Ryan ("Crossfire," "The Wild Bunch," "Bad Day at Black Rock"), and his beautiful girlfriend, Oscar-nominee Janet Leigh ("Psycho," "Touch of Evil, "Little Women"). Filmed in the stunning Rocky Mountains, it is considered by many as one of the best westerns ever made. Inducted into the Library of Congress National Film Registry.]]>
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The Naked Spur is led by a cast of characters pretty much all (even “lawman” Jimmy Stewart) with some suspect moral background or motives. Ralph Meeker just about steals the show as the ex soldier recently dishonorably discharged who goes along for the ride to transport the manipulating murderer with the 5000 dollar bounty on his head played by Robert Ryan. Robert Ryan - who can play a villain with the best - overdoes it a bit with the cocky, never scared for a minute laughter.
Millard Mitchell helps carry out the transport as Jesse the gold miner at heart (who has yet to strike it big, of course).
And Janet Leigh is the naive (or is she?) young beauty on the lam with Ryan.
This is a better than 4 star western that is basically a classic for good reason.
Image quality. As is stated on the cover, it *is* packed with Technicolor thrills. And, overall, the picture looks pretty darn good. However, being picky, it could be better -- it looks somewhat hazy, colors a bit muted and overall somewhat flat.That being said, this is the best it on home video and there are parts were the Technicolor brilliance comes through but this film, well, all the Stewart/Mann westerns, deserve fresh scans from the original camera negatives to allow their brilliance to come through.
Audio quality. The 2.0 mono sound is clean and clear and is never buried in the mix. Some of the later ADR looping sounds like it was recorded in a stdio echo chamber but is ok.
Extras. A couple non-related shorts are included along with the trailer.
Case -- Standard keep case reproduces the standard movie poster which is good.
Here's a list of the Stewart/Mann westerns -- they're all quite good. The only one that been properly remastered to Blue-ray is the Twilight Time release of The Man from Laramie.
1950 Winchester '73
1952 Bend of the River
1953 The Naked Spur
1954 The Far Country
1955 The Man from Laramie
In Spur, Stewart plays Howie Kemp, once a normal farmer who probably had a moral compass; but a series of set-backs leading to the the loss of his ranch has left him at the end of his tether -- to get himself out of a financial hole, he has turned bounty hunter, stalking a former friend, a career criminal, who shot a sheriff and now has a substantial reward hanging over his head -- dead or alive.
At the film's start, Stewart is alone in the wilderness, and close to catching his quarry. But by the time he apprehends him, and has to make the long journey back to civilization, he had acquired unwillingly a couple of partners who facilitate the capture and now mean to share in the spoils: Ralph Meeker, as a sociopathic cavalry officer, dishonorably discharged for raping an Indian (and the tribe is on his trail, and hence on Stewart's as well); and a kindly but greedy old prospector (Millard Mitchell).
And the quarry? Robert Ryan, at his menacing best. Bound and immobile for most of the film, his barbed humor and disarming good nature disguise a truly dangerous man -- dangerous because he knows all of his captors weaknesses, and plays them off against each other, using his words as weapons only until he gets the chance to get his hands on an actual gun. When he is caught, he is accompanied by a semi-feral young woman, played by Janet Leigh, the daughter of one of his slain associates with whom Ryan has some sort of ambiguous relationship, somewhere between lover and surrogate father; when Ryan sees Stewart is attracted to her, he will use that too as a weapon.
Mann stages this journey employing the rocky barren landscape as another protagonists; he relishes having his actors climbing sheer rock faces, fording rapids, digging themselves into the earth to shield themselves from bullets. The extremity of the characters struggle with the landscape mirrors the emotional extremes they are subjected to.
Stewart plays here a paranoid, bitter, vindictive man, for whom the pursuit of blood money has become an obsession. The fact that this goal is at odds with the moral person he once was leads him to the edge of hysteria; he screams like a woman, rages, menaces, bullies. And he pulls it off beautifully. Mann once said at the end of any of his films, his heroes are more exhausted then exalted. As in The Wages of Fear, these movies, particularly Spur, are ordeals, and we and the characters are spared nothing. This movie,like the others in the cycle, is among the toughest, and darkest westerns to come out of Hollywood.