devious, power-mad boss takes over
the town of Bottleneck and the local
cattle ranches, setting up a crooked
game of cards to ensure total control
until his cheating is discovered by the
towns sheriff who winds up dead;
only to be replaced by the incompetent
town drunk in the brilliant tongue-in-
cheek 1939 Western movie Destry Rides
RIDING HIGH ON HUMOUR and Old West charm, Destry Rides Again retains
all the magnetism created when the movie was first shown in 1939 as power-hungry
Kent (Brian Donlevy), who has taken over the town of Bottleneck, ruthlessly
eliminates anyone who stands in his way.
Kent is out to control all the cattle ranches in the area by playing a fixed
game of cards to cheat the cattlemen with the help of saloon singer Frenchy
(the magnificent Marlene Dietrich).
Destry Rides Again
is a terrific movie with
cool Stewart and
making the sparks fly.
One for Western
enthusiasts and film fans
town's sheriff Joseph Keogh (Joe King) discovers the reason for Kent's winning
streak and he is shot; but his death is put down to a heart attack. Kent then
ensures the town drunk, Washington "Wash" Dimsdale (great character actor Charles
Winninger) becomes sheriff, believing that he can continue to play his crooked
game and keep Wash under control.
to Kent, Wash was a deputy under legendary lawman Tom Destry; but when his mild-mannered
son Thomas Jefferson "Tom" Destry Jr (the wonderful James Stewart) arrives in
Bottleneck, he steadfastly refuses to carry a gun.
Knowing Tom Destry Sr's reputation for cleaning up lawless towns, Kent was at
first concerned about the new arrival, but soon Tom Jr is turned into a laughing
stock as nobody will believe he has other ways of making things happen.
Although the seductive Frenchy works for Kent, she begins to feel affection
for Tom and Kent will eventually turn against her. She attempts to persuade
Tom to leave and tries to warn him as Kent and his cronies, including the mayor,
are out to silence him permanently when they discover he is determined to find
out the truth about Keogh's death.
Vying for Tom's romantic attention with Frenchy is Janice Tyndall (Irene Hervey),
who is unwittingly responsible for Destry's hilarious arrival in Bottleneck
when he carries her canary's cage and parasol! He is going to have to fight
hard to be taken seriously. But is he prepared to?
Tom's investigations into the sheriff's death, helped by Wash, leave Kent uneasy,
and soon he is in danger of losing his life. Will Destry finally use his guns
to free the town from Kent and his men?
Notable in this fine Western are the lead actors, including Mischa Auer as Boris
Callahan, who enjoys visiting the saloon, and Una Merkel as his wife, Lily Belle
Callahan, who wants to keep her husband away from it. Two of the most unforgettable
moments are the cat-fight between Lily Belle and Frenchy and Frenchy's rendition
of The Boys In The Backroom.
Beautifully-scripted, hugely amusing and intriguing, Destry Rides Again is a
terrific movie with cool Stewart and firebrand Dietrich making the sparks fly.
One for Western enthusiasts and film fans alike as Marlene Dietrich returns
to her rightful place and James Stewart cements his movie career.
Destry Rides Again also features: Allen Jenkins as Gyp Watson; Warren Hymer
as Bugs Watson; Billy Gilbert as Loupgerou; Samuel S Hinds as Judge Hiram J
Slade; Jack Carson as Jack Tyndall; Tom Fadden as Lem Claggett; Virginia Brissac
as Ma Sophie Claggett; Edmund MacDonald as Rockwell; Lilian Yarbo as Clara;
Dickie Jones as Eli Whitney Claggett; Ann E Todd as Claggett Girl; and not to
forget Bill Cody Jr as the boy telling Wash of Destry's arrival.
Music is by Frank Skinner; Song Lyrics by Frank Loesser; Song Music by Frederick
Hollander; Director of Photography is Hal Mohr; Story by Frederick Frost and
Felix Jackson, Suggested by the novel Destry Rides Again by Max Brand; Screenplay
by Frederick Frost, Felix Jackson, Gertrude Purcell and Henry Myers; Costumes
Designed by Vera West; Produced by Joe Pasternak; and Written and Directed by
*Destry Rides Again (1939) is released
by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in the UK as part of the Criterion Collection
on Blu-ray on 18 May 2020. Certificate: PG | Running Time: 94 Minutes | Year:
1939 | Black & White.
Special Features: New 4K digital restoration by Universal Pictures in collaboration
with The Film Foundation, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
| New interview with critic Imogen Sara Smith | New interview with Donald Dewey,
author of James Stewart: A Biography | Illustrated audio excerpts from
a 1973 oral-history interview with director George Marshall conducted by the
American Film Institute | Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film from 1945,
featuring actors James Stewart and Joan Blondell | English subtitles for the
deaf and hard of hearing | PLUS: An essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme.
"Hugely amusing and intriguing, Destry Rides Again is a terrific movie
with cool Stewart and firebrand Dietrich making the sparks fly. One for Western
enthusiasts and film fans alike" *****
Maggie Woods, MotorBar