Destry Rides Again

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Destry Rides Again is a 1939 western directed by George Marshall, starring Marlene Dietrich, James Stewart, Mischa Auer, Charles Winninger, Brian Donlevy, Allen Jenkins, Irene Hervey, Billy Gilbert, Bill Cody, Jr. and Una Merkel. The original Max Brand novel was translated into an "oater" with the town of Bottleneck set on a Hollywood sound stage.

In 1996, Destry Rides Again was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".



Saloon owner Kent (Brian Donlevy), the unscrupulous boss of the fictional Western town of Bottleneck, has the town's Sheriff, Keogh, killed when the Sheriff asks one too many questions about a rigged poker game. Kent and "Frenchy" (Marlene Dietrich), his girlfriend and the dance hall queen, now have a stranglehold over the local cattle ranchers. The crooked town's mayor, Hiram J. Slade (Samuel S. Hinds), who is in collusion with Kent, appoints the town drunk, Washington Dimsdale (Charles Winninger), as the new sheriff, assuming that he'll be easy to control and manipulate. But what the mayor doesn't know is that Dimsdale was a deputy under the famous lawman, Tom Destry and is able to call upon the equally formidable Tom Destry, Jr. (James Stewart) to help him make Bottleneck a lawful, respectable town.

Destry confounds the townsfolk by refusing to strap on a gun in spite of demonstrating that he is an expert marksman. He still carries out the "letter of the law", as deputy Sheriff, and wins over their respect. A final confrontation between Destry and Kent's gang is inevitable, but "Frenchy" is won over by Destry and changes sides. A final gunfight ensues where Frenchy is killed in the crossfire, and the rule of law wins the day.


Marlene Dietrich as Frenchy performs the songs See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have and You've Got That Look, written by Frank Loesser, set to music by Frederick Hollander, which have become classics.

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