The Naked Spur (A. Mann, 1953)
The Naked Spur is a very good film from Anthony Mann. Even though this film stars James Stewart and Janet Leigh, it’s actually Rob Ryan who steals the show. The way he sweet talks and manipulates the other characters reminded me a lot of one of my favorite current television characters – Ben Linus from Lost – and he portrays that type as person about as successfully. I also liked how the film is kept to a small group of characters. Really, outside of an Indian fight, the five main characters are the only people we ever see, and we get to know them rather well.
Unfortunately, the film is bogged down by an unnecessary score. There were so many moments that would have been amazing if we were able to listen to the sounds of the setting, but instead we could only hear the constant music. There’s even a scene where the rain is falling on some dishes, making a natural musical sound that’s barely audible because of the score! Additionally, the last 2-3 minutes of this movie are truly horrible as an attempt seems to be made to have a clean-cut, moral ending. Luckily, the performances, characterization, and setting outweigh the negatives. 8/10