3 Stars

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Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart ride high in this superb comedic western, both a boisterous spoof and a shining example of the genre it is having fun with. As the brawling, rough-and-tumble saloon singer Frenchy, Dietrich shed her exotic love-goddess image and launched a triumphant career comeback, while Stewart cemented his amiable everyman persona, in his first of many westerns, with a charming turn as a gun-abhorring deputy sheriff who uses his wits to bring law and order to the frontier town of Bottleneck. A sparkling script, a supporting cast of virtuoso character actors, and rollicking musical numbers—delivered with unmatched bravado by the magnetic Dietrich—come together to create an irresistible, oft-imitated marvel of studio-era craftsmanship.

FILM INFO

  • George Marshall
  • United States
  • 1939
  • 94 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.35:1
  • English
  • Spine #1024

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • New 4K digital restoration by Universal Pictures in collaboration with The Film Foundation, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with critic Imogen Sara Smith
  • New interview with Donald Dewey, author of James Stewart: A Biography
  • New video essay featuring excerpts from a 1973 oral-history interview with director George Marshall, conducted by the American Film Institute
  • Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film from 1945, featuring actors James Stewart and Joan Blondell
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme

New cover illustration by Marc Aspinall

April 14, 2020

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Published by

Ronald Epstein

administrator