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: Destry Rides Again (1939)  ( 3083 )
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« : December 22, 2008, 06:14:36 PM »

Were it not for the hackneyed finale this would get 10\10. Until the sheriff murder there is not a single shot or line wasted. And it's admirable as the story is kept in perfect balance between comedy and drama. So I give it 9\10 anyway.

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« #1 : December 23, 2008, 02:19:34 AM »

I never liked DRA very much.

Of the great trendsetting westerns of 1939 this was always the weakest for me.

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« #2 : January 27, 2010, 08:54:37 PM »

Were it not for the hackneyed finale this would get 10\10. Until the sheriff murder there is not a single shot or line wasted. And it's admirable as the story is kept in perfect balance between comedy and drama. So I give it 9\10 anyway.


Something just seems off kilter the moment they kill the Sheriff.
Perhaps it's the anti-climax where all the townswomen descend on the baddies?

Had this been made years later,today or it was a reality the bad guys would have shot the women down.

the 9/10 rating is spot on.
A perfect example of a comedy western that doesn't let the laughs get in the way of the story.

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« #3 : January 28, 2010, 04:09:40 AM »

Its good, a must to see especially for the girl fight alone  O0

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« #4 : February 01, 2010, 01:04:04 PM »

I'm with titoli and fc. In the first act I was hoping the Stewart character wouldn't use a gun throughout the movie, so I was disappointed by the ending. It's like the writer just got lazy and stopped caring around the point the sheriff was shot; either that or studio interference. The movie was perfect until that point, and it actually made me laugh out loud a couple times.

9 is about right.

*I forgot to mention that this western perfectly showcased Stewart's abilities as an actor and fit his persona perfectly. This was the first Stewart western where I didn't didn't reluctantly accept him as the lead.

« : February 01, 2010, 01:42:06 PM T.H. »

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This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!

« #5 : October 16, 2011, 06:46:56 PM »

I can't disagree too much with what's been said already: great film with a disappointing ending.

Destry Rides Again (1939) is a charming old school Western. Director George Marshall deftly mixes comedy and drama, gags and characterization, and the result is a winner.

The Western town of Bottleneck is ruled by trigger-happy saloon owner Kent (Brian Donlevy) and saloon girl Frenchy (Marlene Dietrich), who connive in the murder of the town's honest Sheriff. Drunken wastrel Washington Dimsdale (Charlie Winninger) is appointed Sheriff; realizing he needs help, Dimsdale recruits Tom Destry (James Stewart), son of a legendary gunslinger and a famous lawman in his own right. Destry disappoints Bottleneck by proving a soft-spoken swell who doesn't even pack a gun, but his amiable way of settling disputes works better than a .45.

Westerns don't come much purer than Destry Rides Again. The witty script provides plenty of gags: a lengthy wrestling match between Frenchy and an angry hotel owner (Una Merkel) provides the biggest laughs, as does Merkel's running conflict with her husband (Mischa Auer), a Russian who can't get his wife to forget her ex. But it's also enjoyable as a simple, straightforward Western, a tale of an earnest Sheriff civilizing a rough frontier town - even if he does it by guile and charm rather than force. As with Shane, Destry's archetypical structure makes it all the more appealing.

George Marshall and his writers keep the film wonderfully balanced, a serious tone underpinning the jokes. The conceit of a pacifist lawman is a clever one, and Jimmy Stewart's fine performance makes it convincing. Only the finale proves disappointing: the idea of the townswomen breaking up a gun battle doesn't come off, and Destry decides to strap on his six-guns again. It's as if Marshall didn't know how else to end the film, or else decided to give Western fans their money's worth of lead.

James Stewart gives one of his most charming performances; you believe his quiet righteousness and his soft-spoken parables could disarm a town full of toughts. Marlene Dietrich sends up her own sexpot image with a wonderfully self-effacing turn, even making Frenchy's eleventh-hour conversion (almost) convincing. The supporting cast is a gem: Brian Donvely (Beau Geste) adds another despicable dastard to his resume and Charlie Winninger's Sheriff provides a surprisingly well-rounded character, while Una Merkel and Mischa Auer's not-so-happily married couple provide the film's biggest laughs.

Destry Rides Again is a Western of reference-level quality. It's a simple story, enjoyably told.  8/10

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