Destry Rides Again (1939)

94 mins | Western | 29 December 1939

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Man from Montana . According to a 1938 HR pre-production news item, Harold Shumate was hired as screenwriter on the picture, William K. Howard was assigned to direct and Joel McCrea, who starred in a Universal remake of the story, was assigned to play the lead. Later news items in HR add that the film's production was postponed until James Stewart finished his role in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington . Material contained in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library notes the Hays Office ordered Universal to delete the line of dialogue, "There's gold in them there hills," which Marlene Dietrich said as she stuffed a handful of gold coins into her bosom. Although Universal agreed to delete the offending line, a print shown in New York escaped the censorship and caused much consternation on the part of the critics and the Hays Office. "See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have" became Dietrich's signature song the she frequently performed in later years in UFO shows and nightclub acts. It is also repeatedly showcased in performances by Dietrich impersonators. Modern sources state that Paulette Goddard was also considered for the role of Frenchy. For information on other versions of Brand's novel, see above listing for Destry ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Man from Montana . According to a 1938 HR pre-production news item, Harold Shumate was hired as screenwriter on the picture, William K. Howard was assigned to direct and Joel McCrea, who starred in a Universal remake of the story, was assigned to play the lead. Later news items in HR add that the film's production was postponed until James Stewart finished his role in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington . Material contained in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library notes the Hays Office ordered Universal to delete the line of dialogue, "There's gold in them there hills," which Marlene Dietrich said as she stuffed a handful of gold coins into her bosom. Although Universal agreed to delete the offending line, a print shown in New York escaped the censorship and caused much consternation on the part of the critics and the Hays Office. "See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have" became Dietrich's signature song the she frequently performed in later years in UFO shows and nightclub acts. It is also repeatedly showcased in performances by Dietrich impersonators. Modern sources state that Paulette Goddard was also considered for the role of Frenchy. For information on other versions of Brand's novel, see above listing for Destry . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
28 Nov 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
30 Nov 39
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 38
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Apr 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Sep 39
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Oct 39
pp. 5-6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Nov 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
30 Nov 39
p. 1, 4
Motion Picture Herald
14 Oct 39
p. 37.
Motion Picture Herald
2 Dec 39
p. 41.
New York Times
30 Nov 39
p. 25.
Variety
6 Dec 39
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Joe Pasternak Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by novel Destry Rides Again by Max Brand (New York, 1930).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Little Joe, the Wrangler," "You've Got That Look" and "See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have," words and music by Frank Loesser and Frederick Hollander.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Man from Montana
Release Date:
29 December 1939
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 30 November 1939
Production Date:
early September--late October 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co.
Copyright Date:
8 December 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9298
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
94
Length(in feet):
8,560
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5872
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Bottleneck is a wild and woolly town run by the crooked Kent, who owns the Last Chance Saloon and romances the saloon's feisty songstress, Frenchy. After Kent, in a scheme to seize ranch land and institute a toll crossing, uses a crooked card game to cheat Lem Claggett out of his ranch, Sheriff Keogh goes to question Kent and is never seen again. As a joke, Kent's mouthpiece, Mayor Hiram J. Slade, appoints the town drunk, Washington "Wash" Dimsdale, as sheriff. However, Wash fools Kent and his cronies when he sobers up and sends for Thomas J. Destry Jr., son of the celebrated sheriff and gunfighter, to be his deputy. When Destry arrives, however, he informs the amused citizenry that he does not carry a gun, and proceeds to combat lawlessness with homilies, much to the disgust of rancher Jack Tyndall and the delight of Kent. Destry then begins a probe of the sheriff's death, which ends in the arrest of Gyp Watson, one of Kent's henchmen, for murder. Seeking to stalemate Destry, Kent appoints Slade judge, but when he learns that Destry has sent for an honest judge, he and his gang break jail, shoot Wash in the back and free Watson. Furious, Destry straps on his guns and leads Tyndall and the other ranchers to a shootout with Kent. Meanwhile, Frenchy, who is attracted to the ingenious Destry, rallies the town's women to support their men and, armed with rolling pins, they storm the saloon. In the ensuing chaos, Frenchy meets her death while shielding Destry from Kent's bullet, and in retribution, Destry kills Kent, whose death ... +


Bottleneck is a wild and woolly town run by the crooked Kent, who owns the Last Chance Saloon and romances the saloon's feisty songstress, Frenchy. After Kent, in a scheme to seize ranch land and institute a toll crossing, uses a crooked card game to cheat Lem Claggett out of his ranch, Sheriff Keogh goes to question Kent and is never seen again. As a joke, Kent's mouthpiece, Mayor Hiram J. Slade, appoints the town drunk, Washington "Wash" Dimsdale, as sheriff. However, Wash fools Kent and his cronies when he sobers up and sends for Thomas J. Destry Jr., son of the celebrated sheriff and gunfighter, to be his deputy. When Destry arrives, however, he informs the amused citizenry that he does not carry a gun, and proceeds to combat lawlessness with homilies, much to the disgust of rancher Jack Tyndall and the delight of Kent. Destry then begins a probe of the sheriff's death, which ends in the arrest of Gyp Watson, one of Kent's henchmen, for murder. Seeking to stalemate Destry, Kent appoints Slade judge, but when he learns that Destry has sent for an honest judge, he and his gang break jail, shoot Wash in the back and free Watson. Furious, Destry straps on his guns and leads Tyndall and the other ranchers to a shootout with Kent. Meanwhile, Frenchy, who is attracted to the ingenious Destry, rallies the town's women to support their men and, armed with rolling pins, they storm the saloon. In the ensuing chaos, Frenchy meets her death while shielding Destry from Kent's bullet, and in retribution, Destry kills Kent, whose death ushers in an era of peace for the town of Bottleneck. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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