1 October 2006 | ashew
I'm a big fan of Audie Murphy, but even I willingly admit that most of his movies are mediocre at best. That being said, AMC has been running some Audie Murphy movies that I've never been able to see before...and much to my surprise, I found myself thoroughly enjoying "Destry"! Whenever the studios cared enough to surround Audie Murphy with top-quality supporting players (such as Thomas Mitchell, Edgar Buchanan, Alan Hale, Jr., and Lyle Bettger in this film), Audie's performances always rose to the level of those around him. Everyone is good in this movie, with very little of the over-acting that was the style then.
I saw the Dietrich/Stewart version many years ago...I've never liked Marlene Dietrich and never understood what the big deal with her was, but Jimmy Stewart tops the list of my favorite actors, so it surprises me that I honestly can't remember a single scene from their film. The Murphy remake, however, has some really nice moments that have stuck with me. I'm sure I'll offend a lot of people by saying the following, but Mari Blanchard has more beauty and sex appeal than Dietrich ever DREAMED of having. Mari Blanchard is absolutely stunning in this film.
As for the technical end, I found the directing good, the script devoid of the usual brainless dialog and plot holes that many B Westerns of the time seemed burdened with, and the score was not intrusive. People seem to think this is a comedy, but it is not...it is a Western with humor in it...there's a difference. The humor is derived from the real situations, but never descends into broad comedy with pratfalls and nonsense.
Many Audie Murphy films are good for a single viewing and can be forgotten, but "Destry" is definitely worth repeat viewing. If you run across it, I highly recommend checking it out...there is good stuff throughout.