Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Destry Rides Again


Jimmy Stewart plays a straight-arrow who doesn’t pack a gun, but shows up in the corrupt little burg of Bottleneck to clean up the town. This could have been dead serious and ponderous, but it’s a lot of fun, with a great script and a fine cast. Marlene Dietrich is maybe the all-time best dance hall girl in any western. She sings the classic “See What the Boys in the Backroom Will Have,” and I was struck both by how really bad her voice was … and how she sold it all through sheer, tough as nails, lazy-eyed sultriness. One of those really great films from that best year of all years for Hollywood movies, 1939. They made at least a dozen movies that year that could have won Best Picture in any other year, but only Gone With the Wind could triumph.