Goldie Hawn and George Segal star in this rough and tumble comedy that bounces from San Francisco's Barbary Coast to the wilderness of Utah. The Dirtwater Fox (George Segal) is a slick gambler who wants to hold on to the $40,000 he's stolen from a gang of outlaws. The Duchess (Goldie Hawn) is a scheming saloon singer who wants to become a "real lady." But once they team up, they begin to realize that what they really want is each other. Mixing clever dialogue with plenty of action, this sassy spoof of the Old West is made all the more fun by it's two very talented stars.
There's one scene in the middle of The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox
--with Goldie Hawn and George Segal carrying on a foreign language conversation that stumbles across French, German, and Italian (with a little Yiddish thrown in)--that qualifies as a memorably funny double-talk sequence. The rest of this broad Western quasi-spoof is pretty coarse. Segal is a cardshark who appropriates a bag full of cash; Goldie is a dancehall girl without the heart of gold. This is one of those comedies where you can understand perfectly well why the two romantic leads feel antagonism toward one another--both are pressing way too hard under the direction of veteran comedy guy Melvin Frank. The movie labors in the shadow of Blazing Saddles
, which at least got the conventions of the Western right. Meanwhile, the soundtrack is invaded by Bobby Vinton singing "Lemon Drops, Lollipops and Sunbeams," at which point you may wish Mel Brooks's cowpokes would come riding across the backlot and onto the screen. --Robert Horton