Time: 94 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
SYNOPSIS: The son of a famous lawman is called upon to quench the corruprion in the cattle town of Bottleneck, much to the displeasure of the criminals attempting to take control of the area. Conflict ensues as they try to get the new sheriff to leave while he tries to put them in jail, as well as stay alive.
BOTTOM LINE: This is one of those films on the list of quintiscential classics I'd heard about, but had never seen all the way through. Well, I'm glad I finally did. Stewart is one of my favorite actors and it's great to see him be funny, charming and kick-ass – a quality he rarely got to show in his early career. Much of the comedy derives from the fact that Stewart, who agreed to be the new sheriff, refuses to carry a gun – even in the Old West you can't just gun down an unarmed man – and always has a story to tell about a fellow he once knew. He doesn't initially appear to have the backbone for this challenge and yet he manages just the same to start making a difference, which goes to prove you don't always need a weapon to make your point.
His leading lady, so to speak, is Dietrich, who plays a saloon singer on the wrong side of the law. Her "boyfriend" Kent (Donlevy) is the one trying to take over their little part of the world. He's the most powerful man in town, so one can hardly blame her for seeking his protection. She's sexy, smart and has no time for fools. Destry is, of course, instantly smitten. No one thinks much of Destry until he starts snooping around into the disappearance of the last sheriff. His attempt to bring Kent and his band to justice starts quietly, but ends with a stunning gun battle that involves the entire town and ends sadly for some. There aren't any surprises and yet it's still pretty exciting.
This is a western with all the usual elements that still manages to tell an amusing, intriguing, romantic story. Stewart and Dietrich have great chemistry, which is more than a little surprising, but makes the film quite enjoyable and what raises it to another level. Donlevy wears the black hat quite well here, giving Kent a true air of menace the film needs to succeed. For a story that encompasses so many genres (action/romance/comedy) it actually comes together quite well. DESTRY is a movie I will definitely sit through again...with great pleasure.