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Destry Rides Again!

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mrsl
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Destry Rides Again!

Postby mrsl » April 18th, 2007, 7:13 am

After several failed attempts, after all these years I finally saw Destry Rides Again today, it was just starting when I woke up at 4:30. I saw it years ago as a child, but never managed to since. It's always been on at an inconvenient time for me.

This was probably the original comedy western. Jimmy Stewart was prefecting his eventual trade-mark, the seemingly bungling quiet man. At the same time everyone else is playing the wild and wooly westerners.

Una Merkel was wonderful as her usual 'sharp as a knife' dumb blond, but she is always a pleasure. Charles Winninger was a little over the top as the ex-drunkard sheriff, but did provide a few laughs and his final scene was quite poignant.

The best and funniest part was, of course, Marlene Dietrich, at least I assume she was playing for camp (I should say hope so). She sounded so ridiculous singing that they must have used her own voice. I understand that later in life she was on Broadway, so I suppose she took some singing lessons. But I give the old girl credit for trying. For the time, at 38 she had a lot of guts. I realize probably every young man gets a crush on an older woman at least once in his life, and this was Destrys'. She was only 7 years older than Stewart at the time, but she looked 20.

Jimmy was great in the part. I guess Cooper could have done it justice, but Stewart had that aura of innocence needed to pull off the 'let's be nice' attitude.

I'm glad I finally got to see it as an adult. As a teenager, the whole thing went over my head. I thought like the townspeople and the bad guys did, that Destry was a fool, and a coward that just happened to have a sharpshooters' eye. The meaning of his Father and the guns just went out the window for me the first time, so of course the whole point of the character was lost on me. I believe it was re-made with Audie Murphy, but played in a more serious tone. I'll have to try to catch that one some day and compare.

Comments anyone?

Anne

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Postby JulieMarch4th » April 18th, 2007, 7:42 am

Anne, unfortunately I have to run out this morning, but you bringing up this movie -- made me think that it's an interesting movie about how men define themselves? It's been awhile since I've sat down and watched it all the way through, but the whole story line about Destry and his father's reputation and the sheriffs expectations - and Misha Auer's fight over the pants!

Of course, this is an 'outsider's' (female) view, and it may be too early in the morning for philosophy!

Julie

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Postby movieman1957 » April 18th, 2007, 8:15 am

Anne:

I think the Audie Murphy version is running on the Westerns channel or Retroplex this month. I saw it listed once but am unsure about future showings.

I never could understand the fascination with Dietrich's voice. Wasn't there an affair with Stewart and Dietrich? They seem an odd pair in real life.

An enjoyable film but I'm not sure I'd classify it as great.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Postby cinemalover » April 18th, 2007, 9:23 am

mrsl,
I'm so glad you had a chance to catch the entire film, and enjoy it. Here were my thoughts on the movie from my TCM thread earlier this month. I loved it, and would list it with Support Your Local Sheriff as my two favorite comedy westerns (though McLintock! is not far behind).

Date watched: 4/8/2007
Title: Destry Rides Again Made: 1939
Genre: Western/Comedy Studio:Universal
Format: DVD-R Source: TCM
# of times viewed: 6

Stars:
James Stewart--Tom Destry Jr.
Marlene Dietrich--Frenchy
Brian Donlevy--Kent
Charles Winninger--Washington Dimsdale
Mischa Auer--Boris

Plot: Kent (Donlevy, always wonderful as the heavy) wants to run the town of Bottleneck. A rigged poker game lands Kent a critical strip of land that allows him to charge a toll on the cattle ranchers raises suspicion. When the sheriff begins to investigate Kent has him murdered. They tell the townfolk that he left town for some personal business. The Mayor (who is in Kent's pocket) names the town drunk, Dimsdale (Winninger), the new sheriff because he'll be easy to control. Unbeknownst to Kent and the Mayor, Dimsdale was friends with and a deputy for a great lawman, Tom Destry. Because of this he is able to get his son, Tom Destry Jr. (Stewart) to come be his deputy.

Dimsdale plays up Destry as a rough and tumble hombre that's going to tame the tough town. When Destry arrives via stage he seems anything but tough. He doesn't carry a gun and he looks for non-violent solutions.

When Kent confronts Destry he tells him that his hobby is collecting deputy's guns, and he better hand his over.
Destry explains "I'm just trying to tell you that I ain't got any guns.(Holding his jacket open) See, if I would've had a gun there...why one of us mighta' got hurt, and it mighta' been me. I wouldn't like that, would I?"
Kent "Folks, seems like we got a deputy that knows what's good for him!"
The crowd laughs, which leads Frenchy (Dietrich) to hand Destry a bucket and mop while saying, "I can see now how you cleaned up Tombstone. You can start right here, and don't forget the corners!"

Destry isn't taken seriously by the town, but his methods slowly pay off. He has the bigger picture in mind and he seems to know what he wants.

Dietrich is marvelous as the saloon singer Frenchy. She is working for Kent when she acts as a distraction when they are cheating at cards. Even though she starts out furious at the seemingly lame Destry, she gradually warms up to him and turns against Kent. Donlevy is perfectly menacing in the type of part he perfected. Stewart is simply amazing. There aren't many actors that could believably play the milquetoast but slowly reveal his true heroic character.

This was the second Jimmy Stewart film I watched on Sunday (Flight of the Phoenix) in my own Stewart mini-marathon. His ability to make everything look so natural and easy is incredible.

9* (out of 10) Truly a classic! Worth revisiting if you haven't seen it recently
Chris

The only bad movie is no movie at all.

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Postby vallo » April 18th, 2007, 1:45 pm

I love the film. I can't get the song "Little Joe" out of my head each time I watch it.
You gotta love Charles Winninger as Washington Dimsdale. Favorite Mischa Auer role (except for "Carlo" in My Man Godfrey)

vallo

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Postby ken123 » April 18th, 2007, 3:17 pm

Warren Hymer and Allen Jenkins out West. What a hoot ! :lol:

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Postby Ayres » April 18th, 2007, 3:47 pm

The way he casually proves what a sharpshooter he is and shows them he can be tough is one of my favorite scenes of all movies. A wonderful film.

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Postby MikeBSG » May 5th, 2007, 9:02 am

What amazes me about "Destry Rides Again," which I like very very much, is that while it is a comic film, so many likeable characters die (such as Wash and Frenchy.)

The unforgettable moment for me comes when the little girl sings "Little Joe" at the end of the movie, and Stewart hears it, and the look on his face lets us know that he never will forget Frenchy. It is a surprisingly poignant moment for such a funny film.

When my wife first saw "Destry Rides Again," she said it reminded her a lot of Andy Griffith. Later on, I read that in the Fifties, they tried to make "Destry" into a Broadway musical and Griffith was Destry.

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Postby mrsl » May 5th, 2007, 3:24 pm

What a life! After all those years of never seeing Destry from start to finish, this week I saw both versions!

I have to say, although I love Audie Murphy I prefer Jimmy Stewarts portrayal. His good ol' boy, baffled attitude was just much more charming, and entertaining. On the other hand, I preferred Thomas Mitchell's Washington over Winninger, except for the dying scene. And Mari Blanchard's Frenchy was 100% more the bar girl than Marlene. Plotwise, the original was more involved with better characters and situations. I missed the comedy of Una Merkel and her Russian husband, over surprisingly, Mary Wickes and Doc.

Again if you saw only the second version, you would probably like it well enough, but comparing the two, Audie's version lacks the comedic flair that Jimmy's has.

Anne

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Re:

Postby Rita Hayworth » February 28th, 2011, 2:03 am

cinemalover wrote:mrsl,
I'm so glad you had a chance to catch the entire film, and enjoy it. Here were my thoughts on the movie from my TCM thread earlier this month. I loved it, and would list it with Support Your Local Sheriff as my two favorite comedy westerns (though McLintock! is not far behind).

Date watched: 4/8/2007
Title: Destry Rides Again Made: 1939
Genre: Western/Comedy Studio:Universal
Format: DVD-R Source: TCM
# of times viewed: 6

Stars:
James Stewart--Tom Destry Jr.
Marlene Dietrich--Frenchy
Brian Donlevy--Kent
Charles Winninger--Washington Dimsdale
Mischa Auer--Boris

Plot: Kent (Donlevy, always wonderful as the heavy) wants to run the town of Bottleneck. A rigged poker game lands Kent a critical strip of land that allows him to charge a toll on the cattle ranchers raises suspicion. When the sheriff begins to investigate Kent has him murdered. They tell the townfolk that he left town for some personal business. The Mayor (who is in Kent's pocket) names the town drunk, Dimsdale (Winninger), the new sheriff because he'll be easy to control. Unbeknownst to Kent and the Mayor, Dimsdale was friends with and a deputy for a great lawman, Tom Destry. Because of this he is able to get his son, Tom Destry Jr. (Stewart) to come be his deputy.

Dimsdale plays up Destry as a rough and tumble hombre that's going to tame the tough town. When Destry arrives via stage he seems anything but tough. He doesn't carry a gun and he looks for non-violent solutions.

When Kent confronts Destry he tells him that his hobby is collecting deputy's guns, and he better hand his over.
Destry explains "I'm just trying to tell you that I ain't got any guns.(Holding his jacket open) See, if I would've had a gun there...why one of us mighta' got hurt, and it mighta' been me. I wouldn't like that, would I?"
Kent "Folks, seems like we got a deputy that knows what's good for him!"
The crowd laughs, which leads Frenchy (Dietrich) to hand Destry a bucket and mop while saying, "I can see now how you cleaned up Tombstone. You can start right here, and don't forget the corners!"

Destry isn't taken seriously by the town, but his methods slowly pay off. He has the bigger picture in mind and he seems to know what he wants.

Dietrich is marvelous as the saloon singer Frenchy. She is working for Kent when she acts as a distraction when they are cheating at cards. Even though she starts out furious at the seemingly lame Destry, she gradually warms up to him and turns against Kent. Donlevy is perfectly menacing in the type of part he perfected. Stewart is simply amazing. There aren't many actors that could believably play the milquetoast but slowly reveal his true heroic character.

This was the second Jimmy Stewart film I watched on Sunday (Flight of the Phoenix) in my own Stewart mini-marathon. His ability to make everything look so natural and easy is incredible.

9* (out of 10) Truly a classic! Worth revisiting if you haven't seen it recently


Destry Rides Again,

Was on last night on ENCORE WESTERNS - cimenalover took the words right out of my mouth.

This movie is a hoot - delightful comedy-drama ... I haven't seen this movie for 30 years and I find it enduring, touching, its almost like a Support your Local Sheriff in the different light of things.

Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich were fantastic in this movie and I that my favorite character was Washington Dimples played by Charles Winninger was delightful. It was simply worth watching.

I love the opening sequence ... with fighting, shooting, lawbreaking, and everything you can think of.
I love the bar room fights, the pretty girls, and most of all the way Frenchy protected Destry from the evil man KENT.

I hope some of my Western fans were watching this wonderful film that made in 1939.

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Re: Destry Rides Again!

Postby RedRiver » August 10th, 2011, 8:22 pm

Let's ride this 4 year-old thread a little farther! A comic, western romance. This adventure with a light touch works beautifully. Love the characters. Stewart "ums and wells" his way in and out of precarious situations as if it's an art form. The most threatening of those pitfalls being the splendid Ms. Dietrich.

The plot, from a Max Brand story, I believe, is priceless. It goes to show what a good story will do. Was it done well? Yup! Could you do it poorly? Not easily. Even the Murphy vehicle is fun. There was even a TV series. John Gavin in DESTRY. Conflicts are staged and resolved in cute, but also exciting ways. The showdown is almost Shakespearen. I'm not talking about two cowpokes. The big shoot-out is between Destry and Frenchy. The weapon of choice is a bucket of water!

Often in classic comedy, the best moments are the soft, touching ones. It's true with Chaplin, Wilder, Woody Allen. This film shines brightest as the drunken sheriff dies bravely, with strains of "Little Joe" in the background. And who ultimately settles things once and for all? The women of the town! They've had enough. How many times have we seen this happen in real life?

This is one of my favorite westerns. One of my favorite comedies. The best movies all but defy categorization.

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Re: Destry Rides Again!

Postby movieman1957 » August 10th, 2011, 10:18 pm

You keep digging these up and that's fine. It's nice to think about these again.

Dietrich and Stewart seem an odd pairing but they work so well together.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Re: Destry Rides Again!

Postby MikeBSG » August 11th, 2011, 10:14 am

I really enjoy "Destry Rides Again." I love Stewart's expression when he hears the little girl singing "Little Joe" at the end of the movie.

I just watched the 1984 documentary "Marlene," about Marlene Dietrich. It showed a couple of clips from "Destry Rides Again." Dietrich surprised me by saying of "Destry" director George Marshall "He was wonderful." It turns out that the German title of "Destry Rides Again" is something that translates back into English as "The Big Bluff."

When you think of it, "Destry Rides Again" is something of an odd title. It makes it sound as if the movie is a sequel, but it isn't.

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Re: Destry Rides Again!

Postby pvitari » August 11th, 2011, 7:36 pm

Of course, after watching Destry Rides Again, there's nothing quite like putting on Blazing Saddles and watching Madeleine Kahn do her inimitable impression of Marlene Dietrich. ;)


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