An English woman and her daughter enlist the aid of a cowboy to try and get their hardy hornless bull to mate with the longhorns of Texas, but have to overcome greedy criminals and the natural elements.
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
Looking at the IMDb "Awards" link will reveal this outstanding Anthony Mann western was nominated for a single "Academy Award", for the "Story and Screenplay" by Sam Rolfe and Harold Jack Bloom. The story (and much about the film) is excellent. Certainly, the writers deserved recognition for the intriguing story, and complex characters. But, to see "The Naked Spur" was not nominated for "Best Color Cinematography" is shocking. William Mellor's photography is truly superior. Perhaps, they felt one nomination was enough for a movie about greed...
James Stewart (as Howard Kemp), Janet Leigh (as Lina Patch), Robert Ryan (as Ben Vandergroat), Ralph Meeker (as Roy Anderson), and Millard Mitchell (as Jesse Tate) are an outstanding Colorado quintet. With Mann and Mellor directing, the small cast appears sprawling. Of the five, Mr. Ryan's intensely malevolent "Ben" reigns supreme; it's difficult to envision "The Naked Spur" without Ryan's psychological thorn throwing. Recipient Stewart is also at his best. The other three are great; though, more should have been to done develop and/or explain the relationship. Leigh had/has with Ryan and Stewart; she is underused. That, and a couple of continuity and/or editing problems may distract, slightly. We shouldn't be to be too greedy about great movies, after all.
********* The Naked Spur (2/6/53) Anthony Mann ~ James Stewart, Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh, Ralph Meeker
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