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The Naked Spur (1953)

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

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

Howard Kemp is a bounty hunter who's been after killer Ben Vandergroat for a long time. Along the way, Kemp is forced to take on a couple of partners, an old prospector named Jesse Tate and a dishonorably discharged Union soldier, Roy Anderson. When they learn that Vandergroat has a $5000 reward on his head, greed starts to take the better of them. Vandergroat takes every advantage of the situation sowing doubt between the two men at every opportunity finally convincing one of them to help him escape. Written by garykmcd

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Taglines:

Packed with Technicolor Thrills!

Genres:

Thriller | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

26 June 1953 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

El precio de un hombre  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Finnish register number #39090 delivered on 22-9-1953. See more »

Goofs

The movie is set in March of 1868; as denoted by the wanted poster and Lt. Roy Anderson's discharge papers; however the revolver used throughout the movie is the Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army. Also the the rifle should be the Winchester Model 1866 "Yellow Boy" so named because of its yellow colored receiver; it is obviously a later model Winchester lacking the coloration. See more »

Quotes

Ben Vandergroat: Now ain't that the way? A man gets set for trouble head-on and it sneaks up behind him every time!
Roy Anderson: That's life.
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Soundtracks

Beautiful Dreamer
(uncredited)
Composed by Stephen Foster (1864)
Instrumental version integrated into soundtrack
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User Reviews

 
A western focusing on character development rather that simple bang, bang.
22 January 2002 | by (Front Royal, VA) – See all my reviews

James Stewart and Anthony Mann worked together on several films during the 1950's, and this film, "The Naked Spur", represents a very satisfying effort, pooling the collective talents of a great star with a renowned director and letting a story tell itself on film.

There is very little action in the sense of a normal western, no shootouts in the streets, no bar-room brawls, no breakouts from the jail, or even a bank robbery. There is no town, period; the film was made outdoors in Colorado, and the scenery simply enhances and enriches the plot of the film.

Basically, James Stewart plays a bounty hunter, Howard Kemp, who has a chance to catch a major outlaw, Ben Vandergroat portrayed by Robert Ryan. To Kemp, capturing the outlaw represents a chance to make something of himself, start over, with no ties to the former failures he has met. Along the way, he bumps into a weather-beaten prospector, Jesse, played by veteran Milliard Mitchell, and a deserter from the army, played by Ralph Meeker. Ryan has a traveling companion, Lina, (Janet Leigh), and when Ben is captured, she does make efforts to free him, thus causing Stewart's character all sorts of grief and anguish. Ryan, in a starkly brilliant performance, also attempts to create chances to escape.

In watching the film develop, one has to wonder if Kemp will ultimately, due to his hardened nature, surrender Ben to the authorities, or will he simply let the outlaw go, and try to make a fresh start elsewhere. The answer comes at the side of a roaring river set between a rocky gorge. A very unique film, and one that deserves a watch by western fans.


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