7.7/10
9,344
78 user 42 critic

Destry Rides Again (1939)

Approved | | Comedy, Western | 29 December 1939 (USA)
When a tough western town needs taming, the mild-mannered son of a hard-nosed sheriff gets the job.

Director:

George Marshall

Writers:

Felix Jackson (screen play), Gertrude Purcell (screen play) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marlene Dietrich ... Frenchy
James Stewart ... Thomas Jefferson 'Tom' Destry Jr.
Mischa Auer ... Boris Alexandrovich Callahan (Savogrin)
Charles Winninger ... Washington 'Wash' Dimsdale
Brian Donlevy ... Kent
Allen Jenkins ... Gyp Watson
Warren Hymer ... Bugs Watson
Irene Hervey ... Janice Tyndall
Una Merkel ... Lily Belle Callahan Savogrin
Billy Gilbert ... Loupgerou
Samuel S. Hinds ... Judge Hyram J. Slade
Jack Carson ... Jack Tyndall
Tom Fadden ... Lem Claggett
Virginia Brissac ... Ma Sophie Claggett
Edmund MacDonald ... Rockwell (as Edmund Macdonald)
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Storyline

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. Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They make the fighting sinful west blaze into action before your eyes! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

29 December 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Destry Rides Again See more »

Filming Locations:

Kernville, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$345,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The working title of this film was The Man from Montana. See more »

Goofs

Tom Destry/James Stewart makes the typical movie actor mistake of shooting his pistol at something by jerking the pistol and firing the gun at the target at the same time. In reality, if a shooter did that he would be moving the pistol off line and would miss every time, because the motion of the hand would impart a vector onto the bullet that would make it miss. Also, shooting that way is incredibly inaccurate. A real shooter would level the pistol at the target and then pull the trigger. Audie Murphy, a trained marksman, shot his pistols correctly in his remake of this movie, "Destry." See more »

Quotes

Boris: Observe my brain in action. Now where would I go if I were a dead body? Would I stay in the open? No - no privacy.
Tom Destry Jr.: Mm-hmm. Wouldn't go in the river if you can't swim.
Washington Dimsdale: Why didn't I stay in the gutter where I was well off?
Boris: Would I go under the ground? No - there's no future in it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lost in Alaska (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

O Dem Golden Slippers
(uncredited)
Written by James Allen Bland
[Heard in the saloon]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Classic Western in Old Bottleneck
22 April 2000 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

`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'.


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