Destry Rides Again - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Destry Rides Again Reviews

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January 15, 2018
A quirky sheriff who uses unorthodox ways and means to getting the job done. 1001 movies to see before you die.
½ September 29, 2017
"All I want is to be a cowboy and to wear my own pants!"
½ August 2, 2017
Aside from Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich, this was pretty darned boring - very poorly paced. Maddening that it takes forever for the lead character to show up in his own movie.
March 4, 2017
It's a ball. The best movies came from 1939. Watch, enjoy.
½ December 3, 2016
I absolutely loved this Western that teamed two legends, Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart. It is actually a comedy, and Stewart is hilarious and Dietrich more than holds her own. Even if you don't like Westerns, I recommend checking this one out!
½ July 31, 2016
This was very interesting and I enjoyed it significantly. It's weird watching very early James Stewart--he's not what one would consider a conventional romantic male lead--and this is a very bizarre Western/comedy/musical. Anything starring Dietrich of this vintage is priceless, no doubt. Very weird, especially considering America's ever-present right-to-bear-arms controversy, watching a film like this, too. A purely magical film that's essential to own and re-watch for any Stewart, Dietrich or Western enthusiasts--and a strong reason why 1939 was the greatest year ever for American cinema.
½ July 27, 2016
Much as I'd like to be skeptical of a crime-ridden town's decision to bring in Jimmy Stewart's good cop Destry in hopes for someone to bring back old-fashioned safety to the land, I can't, even though I find it implausible for a skinny fellow of Stewart's American as apple pie sort to be the sturdy law enforcer everyone's looking for as their savior. Say it's the way that Destry has the aim of a mountain lion pouncing on his prey, or the way he maintains his good boy fašade all the while perpetuating that he's tough enough to leave his gun at home. Stewart's casting, unthinkable as it is pre-viewing, is, interestingly, immaculate; unorthodox tough guys, it seems, are sometimes more compelling than your John Waynes and your Humphrey Bogarts.
For "Destry Rides Again," a comedy western released during Hollywood's greatest year, 1939, Stewart is perfect; and, oddly, so is Marlene Dietrich, the premier femme fatale of that decade who is both the film's quasi-villainess and Stewart's would-be love interest. It all sounds like a misfire in the making on paper, akin to one of those failed pictures in which a studio throws star power and a popular genre together hoping for something good. And yet, the film defies any notions that it might, in fact, be a disaster.
"Destry Rides Again" is a delight, plain and simply. It's a crowdpleaser so playful and so deliciously rollicking that it manages to spitefully incur the wrath of the tired claim that, no, studios really don't make them like this anymore (though I could just be bent out of shape over the fact that the Western is basically dead now, and that there will never be anyone quite like Marlene Dietrich).
The film concerns the shaping up of Bottleneck, a hapless Western town doomed by its political corruption and unending acts of violence. The mayor (Samuel S. Hinds) is a selfish crook uncaring of the population's fate; rather than undergo any sort of dirty work himself, the city is mostly run by sleazy saloon owner Kent (Brian Donlevy) and his torch singer girlfriend, Frenchy (Dietrich). As the film opens, we find that Kent has just had the town's sheriff offed for vaguely questioning the saloon's bad habit of hosting rigged poker games. This leads to the appointment of the everlastingly drunken Washington Dimsdale (Charles Winninger) as his successor, which is, seemingly, a smart move on Kent's part.
But because karma always comes back roaring for revenge, it is quickly discovered that Dimsdale has ties to Tom Destry, a famed but deceased lawman renowned for his unconventional methods of peacekeeping. His son (Stewart), who bears his father's name proudly, has all but taken Destry Sr.'s rep as an authority figure not to be messed with. Wanting to see an end to Bottleneck's apparently eternal carnage, Dimsdale calls the man into the city hoping for a solution - and, troubling to the power hungry Kent, Destry is smarmy enough to enforce one.
Always with a twinkle in his eye and a readied one-liner in his mouth to prove his uncrossable confidence, Stewart's Destry is an unfadingly winning Western hero that both solidifies "Destry Rides Again" as a genre picture to be taken seriously and a genre picture to be loved for the friskiness in its heart. Stewart is its straight man and perhaps its most uninteresting character, but only because Dietrich, who gets two awesome song- and-dance numbers in and exploits her own erotically charged persona in the process (memorably through a brutal catfight between her and Una Merkel), and because Donlevy, remarkably detestable and the face of much of the film's cheery chaos, are larger than life.
You'll remember its images and its dopamine enforced aftereffects more than you'll remember its intricacies, but "Destry Rides Again" was never meant to be anything other than a grand old time, which it is. A little over ninety minutes, it's concrete escapism so inspired in its bold pre-productional decisions that its eccentricity immortalizes it.
May 13, 2016
Western comedy finds an extremely corrupt town in need of a new sheriff when they take care of the old one. They let the town drunk be the new guy, until he calls for the son of an old legendary lawman, Destry. Too bad his son doesn't believe his guns, and uses his wits instead of bullets to take on the badguys. This film would inspire Blazing Saddles, and the comparisons are obvious. The film's third act is one the weaker side, but this movie has Stewart and Dietrich at their absolute best, and its a sure fire winner of a western.
½ April 10, 2016
Not GREAT, but there's great parts in it, and in general it's really good. I'm really feelin Jimmy Stewart westerns. I gotta watch em all.
June 29, 2015
Jimmy Stewart seems an odd match for Marlene Dietrich (although apparently they had an affair in real life); the two stars bring their well-known personas to the American West, contrasting comically with the usual genre trappings. He's the new deputy sheriff, full of droll winking stories about people he knows and their experiences that taught him lessons. She's the tough saloon singer who is also involved in a poker game swindle organized by town "boss" Brian Donlevy (who would play similar roles in the noir context later). The film, under George Marshall's even-handed direction, bookends the action with both prologue and coda, showing the town of Bottleneck before Stewart arrived and then after he's cleaned it up (with his pacifist law-abiding ways). Despite all of its eccentricities (Mischa Auer as a Russian cowboy, Charles Winninger as the bumbling banjo-playing sheriff) - or perhaps because of them -- the film works. If you close one eye, it's a Dietrich picture; close the other and it's Stewart's.
½ January 1, 2015
James Stewart is always good at playing persecuted hero whom has a good heart. Great chemistry between him and Marlene Dietrich.
½ September 3, 2014
awesome western gr8 chem twixt dietrich n stewart
July 16, 2014
Pretty solid and fun (if strange) western. I still don't find Marlene Dietrich attractive, she looks like an old lady, and I wish her role was cast differently. There's some slightly funny bits, and the overall atmosphere of the movie is fun and lightweight. Stewart is very good like usual. Some solid character actor moments as well.
April 23, 2014
My Favorite Western Film Is 1956's The Searchers.
May 31, 2013
Right from the long opening scene in the saloon, we are treated to hilarious madcap jokes that come thick and fast and memorable characters, all before Destry (Stewart) comes to town to face off against Brian Donlevy's crooked Kent. When he does, things get even funnier and despite a somewhat typical and cliched plot, it is really exciting. Destry Rides Again is one of the great Westerns with a sprinkling of comedic genius as a bonus.
May 30, 2013
One of the great Westerns, and also a fantastic comedy with a brilliant and and loveable performance from James Stewart as a pacifistic peacekeeper.
April 3, 2013
Dietrich & Stewart... what else do you need to know?
March 17, 2013
Raunchy, funny, alternative western. Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich are both great!
½ March 7, 2013
I wasn't a big fan of this. It reminded me a bit too much of "Blazing Saddles"--with Marlene Dietrich's character--so that might have ruined it for me. It might require a re-watching when I'm more in the mood to handle it.
½ February 23, 2013
it's kinda too predictable for a western movie, but still just try to enjoy the movie :)
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