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Destry Rides Again

114 customer reviews

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(May 06, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

As Destry, a mild-mannered deputy who doesn't like guns, Stewart is called to restore order to the hopelessly corrupt frontier town of Bottleneck. Though reluctant to undertake such an enormous task, he's soon roped into action after meeting the seductive Frenchy (Dietrich), an alluring saloon girl who belts out unforgettable show-stoppers like "The Boys in the Back Room," while winning the hero's heart. Packed with unforgettable performances, snappy dialogue and rousing tunes, Destry Rides Again is a true fan favorite which set the standard for all western comedies to come.

Product Details

  • Actors: James Stewart, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Winninger, Brian Donlevy, Mischa Auer
  • Directors: George Marshall
  • Writers: Felix Jackson, Gertrude Purcell, Henry Myers
  • Producers: Joe Pasternak
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: May 6, 2003
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008CMRO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,552 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Destry Rides Again" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Nix Pix on June 10, 2004
Format: DVD
"Destry Rides Again" is a five star, ten gallon hat of an adventure that casts gangly James Stewart as the unassuming Marshall of a lawless town. At first, Tom Destry's unassuming good nature pegs him as a push over amongst the criminal element in the neighborhood, as well as by the spurious ladies of the evening, fronted by the erotic intercontinental harlot, Frenchy (Marlene Dietrich). However, very soon Destry begins to reassert his power as the law of the land - a pivotal epiphany that leads to violence and death. There's also some great comedy to be had - particularly in a scene in which Destry decides to cool Frenchy off - literally, by soaking her with some ice water. Dietrich's rendition of "See What The Boys In The Backroom'll Have" proves why she was the toast of Berlin cabarets for many years before coming to Hollywood. The forgotten Mischa Auer co-stars as Boris - a simple-minded philanderer in a comedic subplot, who gets his comeuppance in the end. Jack Carson, Una Merkel and Charles Winninger also give credible performances.
THE TRANSFER: The genuine disappointment is that Universal doesn't quite understand they have a winner in this film. The transfer is so terribly marred by fading, age related artifacts and a poorly balanced print that there is very little to recommend this film on DVD. Contrast levels appear under exposed during night scenes and slightly over exposed elsewhere. There's a glaring and distracting amount of film grain present throughout the transfer that really distracts from the visual style and performances. Fine detail is lost in most scenes. Rarely does the quality of this disc surpass mediocrity. The audio is mono and fairly presented, though the critical ear will note distortions present.
EXTRAS: As usual for Universal classics - NONE!
BOTTOM LINE: This film should be seen because it is a gem among westerns - just not in its current condition!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Silva on August 21, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Before I watched this highly-amusing comedy, with "dramatic" touches, it had always seemed so strange (to me), the coupling of reliable & naive Jimmy Stewart with the exotic, alluring and sophisticated Marlene Dietrich...and above all, in a western!!

It's true that she (Dietrich) had starred previously with equally naive and all-american Gary Cooper in both in "Morocco" and "Desire", but the former was a Pre-Code set in Von Sternberg's "exotic" vision of the world (the desert in this case) and the latter wasn't "outside" Diretrich "bounds" either (as a myth), because it was a sophisticated continental romance, produced by Lubistch.

But boy!, in this film Marlene is so different from her previous roles an highly convincing as a notorious saloon singer, "Frenchy" (she's from New Orleans, Louisiana), who's the mistress of the town's villain (Brian Donlevy, great).

After Bottleneck's sheriff (the name of the town) is killed, in rather "obscure" circumstances, Donlevy arranges that the town's drunk (engagingly played by Charles Winninger) is given the job, `cos it's for sure that he wouldn't cause any trouble at all...

But, he's wrong, as everybody else, because Winninger calls for Tom Destry to become his deputy-sheriff, whose heroic father he knew when he was young, ....but, wait a minute!!... this mild-mannered guy (Stewart) cannot be "notorious" Destry's son...but not all is said, `cos this peculiar guy is a no-nonsense man!

Great support too from Mischa Auer, as Winininger's hilarious Russian brother-in-law, so desperately trying to be addressed by his own last name (Androvsky? or sth. like that), and not as "Callahan", his wife's (Una Merkel) very respectable, late first husband.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By William J. Landis on April 19, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I think that just about every film made in 1939 was great and "Destry Rides again" is certainly no exception to that claim..1939 was truly the Golden Age of Hollywood.I won't bother to review the plot as it is well covered in the many other reviews. I hesitated to buy the DVD as there were a few reviews claiming that the transfer was not up to par,overexposed,scratches etc. but I always loved this film and was willing to chance it and was glad that I did purchase it as the transfer to DVD was excellent,clear as any film made today if not clearer..I can only surmise that the reviews that claim that it was a poor transfer were referring to the VHS version and not the DVD.It certainly held up well for all it's 69 years and to see and hear Marlene Dietrich sing " See what the boys in the backroom will have" was worth the price of the DVD.

William J. Landis
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on February 10, 2009
Format: DVD
We watched this particular DVD and I have to say, this film needs restoration badly. When Dietrich gets on stage to sing "See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have,"you can barely distinguish her from the gauze curtain behind her. (Or was she photographed with a piece of gauze hung between her and the camera?) Universal did her no favors in the hair or makeup department either; when wet, her hair looks great, but dry, it looks like a Shirley Temple doll with shiny cellophane instead of human hair, and the cellophane is constantly winking and glittering in the camera's lens, like the jewels or sequins in her corsets and showgirl outfits. Now I know where Kylie Minogue got her total showgirl look.

It is a strange Western without Indians, though we hear them referred to in the dialogue, stories of how the elder Destry faced down a whole Comanche tribe, etc. Otherwise the conflict is between corrupt municipal bosses, allied with gamblers, who scheme to monopolize ownership of all surrounding land--that is, anywhere that could be used as a cattle trail. Wonder if the movie was inspired by current events in Europe; James Stewart, reluctant to strap on the guns and live as his father did, has to make up his mind in the face of escalating and evil violence--an allegory for the isolationism of the US when Hitler was taking over Europe? Everything fits, but if so, it makes the presence of Dietrich (and Mischa Auer) in the movie fit even more... Still you'd think there'd be Indians, or would that be a distraction from the anti-isolationist politics of the film?

Needless to say, we loved it. We devised a drinking game where we would take a shot every time the flustered sheriff pulled his shirt out of the front of his pants, and we took two shots every time Jimmy Stewart slowly and lovingly tucked it back in for him... we cried the last time he did this... in fact I'm still drunk.
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