Destry Rides Again (1939) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi
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Destry Rides Again (1939)
Kent, the unscrupulous boss of Bottleneck has Sheriff Keogh killed when he asks one too many questions about a rigged poker game that gives Kent a stranglehold over the local cattle rangers. The mayor, who is in cahoots with Kent appoints the town drunk, Washington Dimsdale, as the new sheriff assuming that he'll be easy to control. But what the mayor doesn't know is that Dimsdale was a deputy under famous lawman, Tom Destry, and is able to call upon the equally formidable Tom Destry Jr to be his deputy. Featuring a career reviving performance from Marlene Dietrich as bar singer Frenchie, which could well have been the inspiration for Madeline Kahn's "Blazing Saddles" character, Lili Von Schtupp.
Marlene Dietrich ... Frenchy
James Stewart ... Thomas Jefferson 'Tom' Destry Jr.
Mischa Auer ... Boris
Charles Winninger ... Washington Dimsdale
Brian Donlevy ... Kent
Allen Jenkins ... Gyp Watson
Warren Hymer ... Bugs Watson
Irene Hervey ... Janice Tyndall
Una Merkel ... Lily Belle
Billy Gilbert ... Loupgerou
Samuel S. Hinds ... Judge Slade
Jack Carson ... Jack Tyndall
1939 that celebrated high point of the Hollywood studio system turned out to be the break out year for James Stewart. His career kicked into high gear with Destry Ridges Again and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. From just a good leading man these films guaranteed Jimmy Stewart screen immortality.
Destry was equally an important film for Marlene Dietrich. Her career had come to a standstill and she had been let go from her original American studio, Paramount. A whole lot of people said she was through in Hollywood, but Marlene showed them all.
This is the second film adaption of the story, a 1932 version was done by Tom Mix, one of his last films and one of his few sound ones. This one however is THE standard version.
Destry Rides Again was directed by George Marshall who was very good at mixing humor and drama to make some great films. This one is probably Marshall's greatest. Among Hollywood directors from the studio age, he is sadly forgotten.
The town of Bottleneck is one rip roaring place with a whole lot of promiscuous shooting going on. It's a pretty corrupt place run by saloon owner Brian Donlevy and his stooge mayor Samuel S. Hinds. When the sheriff is killed they 'elect' the town drunk Charles Winninger as the new sheriff.
But Winninger who was a deputy sheriff at one time sends for the son of his former boss Thomas Jefferson Destry played by Jimmy Stewart. Destry makes quite an entrance into Bottleneck, running afoul of saloon entertainer Marlene Dietrich. His arrival in Bottleneck up to his first encounter with Marlene are some of the funniest moments ever put on screen.
Destry Rides Again gave Marlene one of her classic ballads, See What the Boys in the Backroom Will Have as well as Little Joe, the Wrangler. Who would ever have thought that the girl from Germany would wind up having one of her most noted film roles as a western saloon entertainer. But Marlene created an indelible character, so much so that Mel Brooks and Madeline Kahn gave her a real heartfelt tribute in Blazing Saddles. I'll bet Marlene enjoyed that one also.
James Stewart did not return to the western genre until Winchester 73 and Broken Arrow eleven years later. But this was one great film to make a debut in that film art form.
You won't indulge in any promiscuous shooting while Destry is on the job.
DESTRY RIDES AGAIN is set in the hopelessly corrupt little town of Bottleneck, presided over as it is by the ruthless land-grabber and card shark Kent (Brian Donlevy) and his sexy partner-in-crime Frenchy (Marlene Dietrich). Sheriffs don't last long in this town, particularly since Mayor Slade (Samuel S. Hinds) is in cahoots with Kent and his flock of flunkies. After doing away with Sheriff Keyhole, Slade appoints the hapless town drunk, Washington Dimsdale (Charles Winninger), to be the new Sheriff. 'Wash' cleans up his act and hopes to re-enact the past glory he had under his boss Sheriff Destry, by calling in Destry's son Tom (James Stewart) to be his deputy. To his horror, Tom is a mild-mannered kind of guy, tall and gangling but with a tendency to lapse into little stories of people he knows. Even worse, Tom has an aversion to guns (his father having been shot in the back in spite of being well-known for going about guns a-blazing) and takes out his frustrations by carving, of all things, napkin rings. It doesn't seem likely that 'Wash' is going to clean up Bottleneck with a deputy like Tom, but clean it up they will, with the aid of Frenchy, who falls quickly for Tom, and henpecked comic wannabe cowboy Boris (Mischa Auer) who is appointed second deputy.
The film is truly a great ride from beginning to end, thoroughly engaging, funny, and yet touching as well. You're never quite sure what to expect, but whatever it is, you're never disappointed. First of all, you don't get stock characters--Tom Destry is as atypical a Western hero as you can get, as he wanders down the streets of Bottleneck carving napkin rings and using charm instead of guns (most of the time!) to get things done his way. Secondly, as can be expected from a hero who doesn't believe in guns, there aren't all that many scenes of gunplay. Oh sure, there's a pretty cool shoot-out at the end, but that's quickly foiled by Frenchy's clever marshalling of the women of Bottleneck, and you get the impression from the film that stock action scenes with plenty of guns and bodies falling from incredible heights just aren't the point of DESTRY RIDES AGAIN, and that's a point in its favour. Finally, there isn't a pat Hollywood ending either. There's a happy ending, of course, but it's bittersweet. I was fully expecting Frenchy and Tom to get together at the very end, cue fadeout etc. etc. They *do* get together, that goes without saying. But again, this occurs in a way that one simply doesn't expect (right until it actually happens). This film always keeps you guessing, but also continually entertained.
You really couldn't get a better or more appropriate cast than this one too... of the supporting cast, Charles Winninger plays his bumbling, half-drunk but principled character of Town Drunk/Sheriff Dimsdale perfectly. Mischa Auer, as well, is endearing as Boris, from when he loses his pants to Frenchy on a bet, through to his determination to be a great second deputy sheriff in exchange for Tom Destry's extra pants. But the two leads are fabulous as well: the top-billed Marlene Dietrich is sultry, sexy but also cute, and performs some great numbers in the saloon (the best of which would be 'The Boys In The Back Room', but the opener 'Little Joe' would be a close runner-up). Still, the one thing Dietrich will be remembered for from this film, and with good cause, is *that* bar-room catfight with Una Merkel (who plays Lily Belle). Catty, vicious and absolutely hilarious, Dietrich really goes all out in a slap-down knock-out fight with Merkel, then proceeds to throw everything imaginable in Stewart's direction with such fire and enthusiasm that you can't help laughing at and loving her at the same time.
Speaking of Stewart--he gives a fantastic performance in the role of Thomas Jefferson Destry. His laidback way of ambling across the screen, his slow assured drawl, his expressive face all combine together to bring Destry to life. It isn't any actor who can pull off the apparent humiliation Stewart's character must face, such as descending from his carriage to face the folk of Bottleneck for the first time carrying a canary cage and a parasol over his head. But just as he pulls off the comedic scenes, his dramatic scenes are effective as well, particularly his final scenes with both Washington and Frenchy. Most importantly, you can believe that Tom is a good-natured charmer, as he's meant to be, but not a simple-minded dolt.
DESTRY RIDES AGAIN isn't just an absolutely cracking Western (from its bar-room brawls and sassy ladies right down to its grand shootout finale)--it's also a sly, tongue-in-cheek homage to and spoof of the entire genre and its stock of characters, from the roguish ne'er-do-well (Kent) to the bumbling sheriff (Washington Dimsdale). It's a feel-good film with romance, comedy and action blended into a Western setting, and is most certainly one of the best films of the 1930s, and one of the best I've ever seen. A classic!
`Howdy, Stranger! Let me show you around the town of Bottleneck. Folks here can be plumb rowdy on occasion. Over there's the saloon - it's run by a right pretty gal named Frenchy (Marlene Dietrich). She's a real spitfire - don't get her riled. We like to say she runs the town, but we all know the real boss is her lover, Kent (Brian Donlevy), a mean, slick hombre who's buying -or stealing- all the land straight across the valley; he means to charge for each head of cattle run through here. Our last sheriff (Joe King) disappeared real mysterious like, and the mayor (Samuel S. Hinds), who's in cahoots with Kent, appointed the town drunk (Charles Winninger) as the new sheriff. He's surprised us all by bringing in as his deputy Tom Destry (James Stewart), son of the famous lawman who was shot in the back a few years ago. The boy looks kind of sheepish, but I'll bet he's got some backbone to him, just like his old man. Yes, sir, if Kent gives him any trouble we just might get to watch while DESTRY RIDES AGAIN.'
This is one of the great Western films, with all the pieces falling into place. It's got a sense of humor & does not take itself too seriously. And the women are as strong as the men, unusual in a Western: Dietrich & Una Merkel have the best fight in the film and it's the entire body of townswomen, lead by Merkel & Dietrich, who take matters into their own hands at the conclusion to thrash the bad guys.
All of the above named cast is excellent (this was considered a comeback of sorts for Dietrich, after her parade of elaborate, but not terribly popular, costume epics; Stewart is a delight as his usual laconic self.) Jack Carson is also on hand as a tough cattleman. Lighter moments are handled by Mischa Auer, as a Russian émigré who wants to be a cowboy, and Billy Gilbert, as a temperamental barkeep.
Dietrich gets to sing three splashy, dance hall numbers: `Little Joe', `You've Got That Look' and, most famously, `See What The Boys In The Back Room Will Have'.