"Law and order!" That's what he believes in -- and he believes in attaining it "without guns." This post is about a James Stewart classic that does not get as much mention as THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, REAR WINDOW and VERTIGO nowadays. But it should. Jimmy Stewart hits a bullseye in it. The 1939 comedy/drama western is DESTRY RIDES AGAIN. His leading lady is Marlene Dietrich.
This is the classic movie that rejuvenated Marlene Dietrich's career. Moviegoers got a little tired of her being an alluring, exotic, elegantly-attired European vamp as she had been throughout the 1930s. Times and styles were changing. She's a con artist saloon singer in DESTRY RIDES AGAIN, very popular with the rowdy men of Bottleneck. That's the name of the wild west town. In the first half hour of the film, Dietrich sings a song and then has a knock-down, drag out fight with one of the town's wives. Frenchy, the saloon singer, conned the woman's husband out of his pants. This hair-pulling, messy brawl covers quite a bit of floor space in the saloon as the men cheer. When Deputy Destry comes in and puts an end to the fight by dousing both women with a bucket of water, Dietrich ended her box office popularity drought. That brawl was a memorable, All-American movie scene.
Bottleneck needs to be tamed. We know Destry can tame it. Watch how he slyly sizes up the men and the situation in the saloon soon after he arrives to begin his duties. He knows what they're thinking and he knows what they're not thinking. Destry will tame Bottleneck -- and hot-tempered Frenchy.