Monday Matinee: Destry Rides Again (1939)


Getting back to the Class of ‘39, I now come to a film that is one of my favorites, Jimmy Stewart’s Destry Rides Again. Ten films were nominated for Best Picture, and I’ve already discussed most of those. What many people don’t realize is that Jimmy Stewart almost had his own Best Picture race, all on his lonesome.

In 1939, seven Jimmy Stewart films were released, and three of them were worthy of nomination for Best Picture. Three of these seven films are considered major classics today: Shop Around the Corner, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, and Destry Rides Again. (And, yes, Mr. Smith WAS one of the ten nominated films.)

In Destry Rides Again, Stewart wasn’t the main draw. Yes, he was the leading man, but the big star was the Teutonic Bombshell, Marlene Dietrich. A western, Destry Rides Again is a take on the age-old story of a single good guy taking on corruption, in the Old West. Marlene Dietrich is a dancehall girl, and part of the corruption, and Stewart is a friend of the old bumbling sheriff who called him into help clean up the town.

The twist is that Destry, the son of a famous lawman, doesn’t use guns, disappointing the sheriff mightily. There are many great character actors in the movie, and if you have read my Matinee Mondays, you know that I love my character actors. They may not be leading stars, but they add life to the movies. One of my favorites is the Russian emigre, Mischa Auer. He has another delightful role as a Russian emigre who came to this country to strike it rich in California, and ends up marrying the widow who runs the boarding house. While he wants to be a cowboy, his wife, the widow, runs rough-shod over him throughout the entire picture.

And he’s not the only great. When you watch this trailer, you’ll see Allen Jenkins, Una Merkel, Charles Winnegar, and even the ubiquitious Billy Gilbert. And, if you think that you see an army of women fighting the cowboys in the saloon, in the great fight scene in this trailer, you aren’t seeing things. Destry Rides Again turns things upside-down throughout. Enjoy.


1 Comment

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One response to “Monday Matinee: Destry Rides Again (1939)

  1. tjcox53

    The ‘interim period.” I’ve recently started reading your blog, being referred her by The Forgiven Wife to follow your colloquy, which I found very interesting. Most of my comments have been positive, and hopeful I believe. However at this point, I’ve had a lightbulb moment in which I realized that the only thing changing in our marriage was me. I was doing all the work, all the driving to improve our marriage and essentially dragging my wife along in the process.Frankly, I’m exhausted, and our level of intimacy has not changed. So I’ve stopped over the last week or so, and given notice to wifey that I will not not pursuing sex with her any more. If she wants to we can have sex, but I’m done chasing the carrot on a string. It’s not in my nature to be unkind, even to people I dislike so I intend to be as loving and considerate of her as possible, but will not pretend that things are anywhere near OK. Since that discussion, we’ve had sex once. I have no idea when the next time will be, but probably within the next couple weeks, although I’m not sure if her intentions are she wants it or is thinking I do. Which is really the problem. I would rather have no sex, than sex driven by her thinking I need it.
    To be clear, I’m not in what is normally considered a sexless marriage. My wife will have sex whenever I ask, as long as I time it correctly. Meaning we’re alone, and there are no emergencies to attend to. The problem is in getting her to engage in the act, to view it as something for her as well as me. Her lack of desire is killing my own drive to be intimate with her, and therefore the connection I’ve worked at building the last few years (there’s a lot to that story that I won’t get into here).
    I apologize for rambling. I’m kind of adrift at the moment, trying to get back to my anchor. In one of you posts you referred to theraputic distancing. I suppose that’s what I’m attempting to do here, but I have no faith anymore that anything will ever change. I am resigned to becoming a relationship of friends with possible occasional benefits? NOT what I would call marriage.


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