Reviewed by: Arnold P.

Arnold's Score:
7.88

Plot/Story

7

Characters

9

Acting

8

Cinematography

7

Production Design

8

Soundtrack

8

Execution

9

Emotional Impact

7


Review:

It's a Western but it's also a comedy and a drama, with a few musical numbers ("The Boys in the Backroom" is one of them). Marlene Dietrich makes a comeback playing against her uber-diva persona after a two-year absence. James (Jimmy) Stewart is on the cusp of stardom, playing a low-key pacifist deputy sheriff. The plot is good, the pace is brisk, and the dialog isn't too quaint for the modern viewer. Dietrich delivers some of the best lines: "The longer they wait, the better they like it." (She says this just before she performs "You've Got That Look".) The well-cast ensemble brings a lot of energy and color to the film, which has more than its share of outstanding characters. Female characters other than Dietrich's Frenchy get a lot of screen time and dialog, which is more than can be said about a lot of Westerns and action films that followed it. There is one black character, a maid, who has a lot of lines and is not a caricature when compared to the usual roles in films of 1939 (or much later). There are non-speaking Asian roles (presumably Chinese) in crowd scenes. The Criterion Collection's Blu-ray release is clear and crisp (you can see the fine lines on a young Stewart's forehead). Is this for everyone? Probably not. I was drawn to this primarily because of Dietrich and Stewart; I thought they would make an interesting pair to watch. It turns out they had good chemistry. Though Western films are not my usual fare, this one was thoroughly enjoyable.