Destry Rides Again (1939) Movie Poster

Trivia for Destry Rides Again (1939)

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  • James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich had an affair which lasted for the duration of filming. She later claimed that she had to have an abortion after Stewart made her pregnant.
  • The movie was adapted for a Broadway musical starring Andy Griffith and opened at the April 23, 1959 at the Imperial Theatre and ran for 472 performances.
  • James Stewart's first western.
  • This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1996
  • "Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 5, 1945 with James Stewart reprising his film role.
  • The role of Tom Destry was originally intended for Gary Cooper, but he wanted more money than the producers were willing to pay him. It was then offered to James Stewart, who took it.
  • According to her grandson Peter Riva interviewed for the Icons Radio Hour, Marlene Dietrich's fight scene was unchoreographed. She and Una Merkel agreed to do it impromptu with the only rule being no closed fists. They used feet, pulled hair, and Marlene had bruises for weeks afterwards. but the director got everything in one take.
  • According to her grandson Peter Riva in an Icons Radio interview, Marlene Dietrich had no interest in doing a western when presented this script. But her friend Erich Maria Remarque convinced her that it would be perfect for her. Remarque told her that it would make her "more American". "If I am more American", Marlene asked him, "can I do more against the Nazis?" Remarque answered, "Of course". Dietrich's motive for doing this movie was to warn Americans about the Nazis.
  • In the original script, there was a scene in the movie showing Marlene Dietrich putting her winnings from a wild night of gambling below her dress neckline. The censors initially approved her comment. Patting her chest, she exclaims, "There's gold in them thar hills." After the preview audience roared at the line, the censors ordered it to be removed.
  • Paulette Goddard was considered for the role of Frenchy.
  • Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • Marlene Dietrich' s character and singing style was parodied by Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles (1974).
  • Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
  • When Marlene Dietrich arrived on the set, she offered a life size doll of Flash Gordon to James Stewart, who was a great fan of comic books.
  • Marlene Dietrich threw herself into her role, even learning to make her own cigarettes Western style and using her teeth to open the neck of the tobacco sack.
  • Una Merkel recalled filming the fight sequence: "Neither of us knew what we were doing. We just plunged in and punched and slapped and kicked for all we were worth. They never did call in the stunt girls. Marlene stepped on my feet with her French heels. The toenails never grew back. She was stronger than me. She was very powerful and I was very thin. Luckily, I have a remarkable constitution. I was bruised from head to foot when it was over. I looked like an old peach, green with brown spots. And I felt like one too. At the end of the scene Jimmy Stewart came in and dumped a whole bucket of water over us. He did it in long shot. Then he had to do it over for close-ups. Then Life Magazine wanted pictures so they did it over again. He dumped water on us for hours."
  • The working title of this film was The Man from Montana.
  • According to a 1938 Hollywood Reporter 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.
  • Production was postponed until James Stewart finished his role in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939).
  • This film help restart Marlene Dietrich career. According to a column by Ed Sullivan "Marlene Dietrich was all washed up in pictures. Nightly, you'd see her dining with the people of the movie colony, but nobody would give he a job. Nate Blumberg came over to our house one night on North Alta Drive. He had just taken over Universal and he told me that his lack of budget stymied casting of a picture in which he had great faith. I suggested that he could make a good deal with Marlene Dietrich. So Dietrich made her comeback in "Destry Rides Again Again." She's been going strong ever since."
  • Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
  • The corrupt character Judge Slade is played by Samuel S. Hinds, who would once again play alongside Jimmy Stewart 7 years later as George Bailey's incorruptible father in It's a Wonderful Life.
  • This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #1024.
  • At the time of filming, Stewart was age 31 and Dietrich age 38.
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