Boy this one is merciless ! All of them, deep inside, are greedy and not to trust. Hard to tell who the real bad guy is. Even in the most beautiful nature, somewhere in the wild, Mann gives you the feeling that this is all between four walls (the way he shapes the space), and that nobody can escape its destiny. Ryan plays an evil Peckinpah character before Peckinpah. Jimmy Stewart the moral but dark sided figure.
A colorful cast of characters, no doubt. The locations were nice. Despite that, this movie just did not draw me in. James Stewart never was an actor that was convincing to me in a tough guy role. That and the somewhat predictable nature of the film made this an average viewing experience.
A clever story where villains of all kind interact: a renegade soldier, a false sheriff, a funny rogue, a rebel who likes bad boys, an old crook. The doomed & candid Indians are the nicest. La rencontre de mal intentionnés de toutes sortes: un soldat renégat, un faux shérif, un voyou plein d'humour, une rebelle qui aime les bad boys, un vieux crocodile. Les candides indiens au sort funeste sont les plus sympathiques
The Naked Spur is saddled with an ending so disappointing that even by 1953 Hollywood standards it's obnoxiously feel-good. The opportunity to end things in a more interesting manner may be passed up, but this is still an enjoyable enough western adventure that has a pleasingly unpredictable group dynamic. James Stewart and Robert Ryan's sparring is especially wonderful.
A thriller that sustains its tension as much through the gradual revelation of the grayness of its characters' morality as through its more traditional plot mechanics and action sequences. Mann is known for his Western landscape vistas, but, significantly, the characters are nearly always in the foreground. This is not Man vs. Nature; it's Man vs. Man, in isolation, cut off from the right and wrong of law and society
This is one western that displaces the action from the outside to the mind. The minute-by-minute update in character equations is something very few films can handle. At any one moment, you can't be too sure who's trying to run the game, and who's trying to double-cross whom.
Great example of a film where the stakes/risks are high from its first minute to its last. I loved how, until the climax, as the film moved along I became unsure who I was routing for, and even at times was taken aback by all of them (well, except for the girl - her character's intentions was pretty solid and clear throughout). It was also cool how Mann used the sounds of the rapids to intensify the tension.
The very end took me by surprise. Not something you tend to expect, let alone see, in the Western. Jimmy Stewart's performance was pleasingly different from the start, though you have to really be paying attention to get what his character is being taken through in the story. Maybe not as deeply passioned as John Wayne in "The Searchers", but an internal voyage to his real self beneath his circumstances nonetheless.