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1950 | 4:3 | COLOR | Quality: Excellent

Joel McCrea

Shelley Winters


Frenchie Fontaine (Shelly Winters) is a successful brassie lassie who has been thriving in New Orleans as the owner of a casino. Inexplicably, she sells that casino to move back to her sleepy hometown of Bottleneck. Soon after buying the dying local bar, she is able to make a huge success of it - turning it into a gambling parlor. Secretly, this move is just a front as she works to unravel the mystery surrounding her father's murder years earlier. Soon her thriving casino irks some of the locals who want to keep the town clean and trouble-free, giving her even more problems to handle. In the meantime, romance blossoms between her and Sheriff Tom Banning (Joe McCrea) - who wants to shut down her gambling establishment. Gun play, old fashioned saloon fights (including when Frenchie tangles with another woman which is a hoot) and entertainment a-plenty ensues. Rounding out the cast of this technicolor co-feature are Joel McCrea, John Russell, Paul Kelly, Elsa Lanchester, John Emery and the ever dependable Marie Windsor.

Although most film historians rate Frenchie as at least a partial remake of Destry Rides Again, a search of the film credits reveals nary a mention of Max Brand and his western novel on which the famous James Stewart/Marlene Dietrich classic is based. It gives someone by the name of Oscar Brodney credit for an 'original story and screenplay.' The estate of Max Brand probably could have sued. However, other than the name of the town of Bottleneck and the name of Shelley Winters title character, a whole lot has changed. Strengths of the film include some nice acting, a crazy girl-fight, clever photography, and an unusual plot.

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