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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Naked Spur (1953)



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The partnership of Jimmy Stewart and Anthony Mann may not have been as prolific as John Wayne and John Ford, but they, too, turned out a series of westerns that includes some of the greatest ever made. Winchester '73 was probably their best, but The Naked Spur comes close. The Stewart/Mann collaborations, this no exception, are almost like spaghetti westerns with more classical values. Stewart's character was almost always a true hero, not an anti-hero, but the movies were no elegies to more honorable times. These are violent and dirty action flicks with ruthless badguys that do as they please because no one is around to stop them.

Stewart usually played men who just want to be left alone. In The Naked Spur, however, he plays a bounty hunter chasing a murderer for the $5000 reward. But why? The movie's slow unveiling of the character and the complicated backstory is as fascinating as the taut action scenes.