Marlene Dietrich Goes West
I mentioned to a friend this weekend that Marlene Dietrich's starring role in the popular film Destry Rides Again was a comeback performance for her. My friend asked how Dietrich could have a comeback when her career was strong and steady all the way through. Which is how most movie fans think of Dietrich.
But in 1937, after lukewarm (and even cold) reviews for the film Angel (and several others), Marlene Dietrich was voted Box Office Poison by American theater owners. She believed her film career was over and was languishing in Europe when she received a telegram communicating that she was set to star in a Western with Jimmy Stewart. Although she was incredulous that Dietrich (as she called herself) was right for the part of a loose and morally corrupt saloon hall entertainer, smart advisers encouraged her to take the part. She is perfect in the part, and the film was a box office smash. It revived her career for the next 15 years and led to her eventual one-woman cabaret shows.
Tuesday night, we celebrate Women in Westerns with Dietrich, Jimmy Stewart and one of the funniest and ferocious cat fights ever put on film. Una Merkel and Dietrich duke it out until Jimmy Stewart drops a bucketful of water on them -- and then Dietrich goes after Stewart. Destry Rides Again is a spectacular film -- one of the finest films of what is considered to be the Golden Year of Movies; see it on a big screen. Details here.