7.7/10
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78 user 44 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

According to her grandson Peter Riva interviewed for the Icons Radio Hour, Marlene Dietrich's fight scene was unchoreographed. She and Una Merkel agreed to do it impromptu with the only rule being no closed fists. They used feet, pulled hair, and Marlene had bruises for weeks afterwards. but the director got everything in one take. 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

Judge Slade: According to the provisions of the statutes of our territorial commonwealth, you gentleman of the jury have been selected as representative citizens of our fair community. We want to see that the public's faith is justified. So when you boys retire to consider a verdict, stay out awhile. Mr. Kent will see that you are plentifuly provided with liquid refreshments. And after you have deliberated sufficiently, weighed all the evidence fair and square, and brought in a verdict of not guilty, you ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Deuce: Show and Prove (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Previn's Stomp
(uncredited)
Written by Aleth Hansen
See more »

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User Reviews

 
No Promiscuous Shooting In Bottleneck
21 August 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

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.


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