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Page # 873

The Naked Spur
Director: Anthony Mann
Cast: James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan
Genre: Western, Classics

Running Time: 91
Aspect Ratio:  1.33:1 (NTSC )
Sound: Dolby Digital 1.0
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Studio:  Warner Home Video DVD Region:  1 NR
DVD Release:  Aug 2006 Discs:  1 (DVD) [$19.98]
Reviews:  The Anthony Mann-Jimmy Stewart Westerns in the 1950s infused the genre with a psychological intensity and psychopathic edge. The brutal "The Naked Spur", their third collaboration, is generally considered their best work together and one of the finest Westerns ever made. Stewart is a hard, angry bounty hunter tracking outlaw Robert Ryan in this lean five-character drama set in a deceptively beautiful mountain wilderness. Stewart finds himself saddled with two unwanted partners, sourdough prospector Millard Mitchell (his sidekick in the earlier Mann Western "Winchester '73") and dishonorably discharged cavalry officer Ralph Meeker. Ryan's tomboyish sidekick Janet Leigh becomes increasingly torn between duty to her desperate guardian and her growing attraction to Stewart. The rugged landscape of jutting peaks, narrow passes, and torrential rivers is as gorgeous as it is dangerous: a well-protected plateau becomes a sniper's perch, an old mine turns from protective cave to dangerous cave-in. Stewart delivers the most ruthless performance of his career as a man haunted by betrayal, unwilling to trust and unable to love. Ryan's jovial banter and charm masks a cold-blooded savagery (he once remarked that it's his favorite performance). The tension stretches to the breaking point in this taut battle of wits, which culminates in a standoff next to the white water of a raging river, where Mann brilliantly uses the jagged landscape as a deadly battleground--nature itself becomes an enemy. "--Sean Axmaker"

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