Friday, May 4, 2012

The Naked Spur

A rancher returns (James Stewart) home from the Civil War to find his wife has sold the farm and run off. Disgraced and half-crazed, he takes up a hefty bounty on a manipulative and wily killer (Robert Ryan) in order to retrieve his farm, and finds himself unwillingly in on the deal with a prospector (Millard Mitchell), an ex-soldier (Ralph Meeker) and the confused girlfriend (Janet Leigh) of his target. "The Naked Spur" is another entry in the lengthy collaboration between Stewart and director Anthony Mann, and is a simple yet powerful treatise on conscience and ethics. Mann makes great usage of his Colorado locations and Stewart delivers another dark and nuanced postwar performance. Additionally, Robert Ryan is a particular standout as the cunning and malevolent outlaw.