Thursday, July 21, 2011

Destry Rides Again

In the lawless town of Bottleneck, the sheriff is murdered by a land baron when he tries to correct a rigged card game. When the baron along with the crooked judge appoint the town drunk as the new sheriff, things don't play out just as they planned. The town drunk knows the score, gets his act together, and deputizes Tom Destry, the son of the great lawman he once worked under. However, Destry is not what he expected, and is a peaceful type who doesn't believe in the use of firearms. Soon though, the new deputy wins over the faith of the town and heart of a fiery dancer as he sets his sights on the evil land baron. Directed by George Marshall, Destry Rides Again is magnificent entertainment. It is a send up of the Western genre, with all the characters painted in broad strokes. Released in the same year as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Jimmy Stewart gives another endearing performance again portraying a fish out of water type. Marlene Dietrich is wonderfully scandalous in a role that had to be the inspiration for Madeline Kahn's Lili Von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles. Also Charles Winninger is a hoot as the town drunk/sheriff. Destry Rides Again is wonderful and hilarious entertainment that simultaneously manages to mock the Western and fit comfortably in its boots.