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“The Naked Spur” (1953)

July 9, 2008

Oh, yeah. 

This is the second Joss-recommended Western I wondered about in the first half and was awed by in the second. Noir Western. All human relationships start out corrupted, and then comes the pain. 

The pain plays on Jimmy Stewart’s face, and it is virtuoso. Despite the noirish start and the uncompromising rest of the movie, the pain doesn’t just turn things worse. It becomes the basis for something better. 

Small cast, compact plot, epic story. 

Two non-spoiler nuggets: When Stewart has a fever dream in which he cries out for “Mary,” it’s hard not to think of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and yet that brings you deeper into his character in this movie. Also: Bad Guys as Truth Tellers — quite Whedonesque.

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2 Comments
  1. jaynelovesvera permalink*
    July 10, 2008 2:12 am

    I’ve seen this a couple of times. Another of Anthony Mann’s gritty Westerns–he also directed The Furies. I wonder if Joss saw or liked any of Mann’s other films, among them The Far Country, Cimarron (the Glenn Ford version), and God’s Little Acre, which I was surprised my parents let me watch on tv when I was nine or ten due to all the sexual tension.

    Like a lot of actors became famous after appearing in American Graffiti, God’s Little Acre proved fertile as well, featuring Tina Louise (Gilligan’s Island), Jack Lord (Hawaii 5-0) and Michael Landon (half the family shows ever on tv). There may be more I don’t remember.

  2. pointy07 permalink*
    July 10, 2008 3:41 am

    God’s Little Acre goes Q-ward.

    I think I made up the part about Joss recommending the Naked Spur. Perhaps it was you, Your Majesty. A less benevolent monarch would respond with beheading. Thnx.

    Joss, watch the Naked Spur — awesome! You’ll come for the Jimmy Stewart, you’ll stay for the story. There’s even a strengthening woman character.

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