Destry Rides Again (1939)
April 23, 2024 10:21 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] The town of Bottleneck is ruled by corrupt and power-hungry saloon owner Kent (Brian Donlevy) who names the town drunk, Dimsdale (Charles Winninger), as sheriff. Dimsdale's old friend lawman Tom Destry sends his daring son Tom Destry Jr. (James Stewart) to Bottleneck to save the day. Frenchy (Marlene Dietrich), a saloon girl who is initially one of Kent’s followers, saves Destry’s life and becomes romantically involved with him.

Also starring Mischa Auer, Allen Jenkins, Warren Hymer, Irene Hervey, Una Merkel Billy Gilbert.

Directed by George Marshall. Written by Felix Jackson. Screenplay by Henry Myers, Gertrude Purcell. Based on the 1930 novel of the same name by Max Brand. Produced by Joe Pasternak for Universal Pictures. Cinematography by Hal Mohr. Edited by Milton Carruth. Music by Frank Skinner.

96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I once saw an interview with Stewart where someone asked him how he conveyed such sincerity.

He said he learned a trick while working on Destry Rides Again. Marlene Dietrich told him that the secret to seeming sincere on film is: when you are interacting with someone, pick one eye and focus on that. Normal people look someone in the eyes, so their focus darts back and forth between the two. When you choose one eye and stay on it, your gaze is steady. It's a strong nonverbal cue that reads as very sincere.

Anyway, I'm autistic and I do this pretty much every time I speak with someone. It works.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:39 AM on April 23 [11 favorites]

Love that anecdote, DirtyOldTown!

Great movie. 1939 was a real pinnacle for Hollywood cinema; this is close to being an all-time classic yet I would rank it outside of the top 10 of the year—and it's not even Stewart's best movie of 1939!
posted by bcwinters at 4:04 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]

I remember reading the book when I was 11 or 12 and loving it. The movie is a completely different story but also very good. Time to revisit both.
posted by night_train at 1:24 AM on April 24

I feel like there is some kind of genealogical lineage between this film and Blazing Saddles.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:23 PM on April 24

So I just finished watching this. I'd forgotten it featured the song, See What the Boys in the Backroom will have.
posted by night_train at 1:41 PM on April 28

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