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It's 1882 on the Barbary Coast. Charlie Malloy aka the Dirtwater Fox, makes his living cheating at cards. His latest venture however is stealing $40,000 from a bunch of outlaws. Bluebird, a saloon performer and prostitute, wants an easy life. When a Mormon, Josiah Widdicombe, comes to town, Bluebird has the idea that being the seventh wife of a Mormon would be a good life - she only has to work once every seven days. She steals Malloy's bag with the money, unaware of the amount inside. She only wants enough to buy a dress to masquerade as a duchess for Widdicombe. The ruse works. On Bluebird's way to Salt Lake City, Malloy catches up with her. Although Bluebird still has every intention of becoming a Mormon wife, the two decide to partner on the scheme of Mormon riches. All the while, the outlaws are on their tail after their $40,000.Written by
"The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox" is a fairly good film. It's a cross between classic Hollywood and the then more contemporary comedy stylings that were coming into vogue in the late 60s and 70s. That is to say the humor is blue, and less suggestive than it is explicit, yet at the same time very smart. And perhaps because of this the film's tone is probably a little misunderstood.
Even though the film was shot widescreen there's a definite TV budget feel about it. There's more coverage than can be expected from a made for TV film, but the shots themselves are typically those used in non-theatrical productions, giving the film a kind of uneven feel.
For what the film is the humor is pretty sophisticated, which I think has some of the other commentators (specifically those who gave negative reviews) a bit confused. For a comedy that opens with a dance hall scene laden with sexual innuendo one might not expect the gags to be as sophisticated as they are. A viewer might get the impression that the humor will be blue, but not just blue, but explicitly blue. But that's not the case here. The humor, though suggestive and occasionally profane, is actually pretty smart, and on that score is actually quite funny. Now, if you can accept all that, and like your humor with lots of wit, then this film should entertain. In short the humor is smarter than one would expect. You have to approach watching this film with kind of mindset to really enjoy it :-)
If I had one gripe with the film it'd be the ending. As climatic as it was it felt a little flat and open ended. It's also a bit implausible, even for a comedy, but a film like this really needs a happy ending... of sorts. On that score the ending should've been a little more plausible, but it is what it is.
If you like your films smart, then try not to be too swayed by the negative comments, and give the film a chance by renting it once. It's not a film that has a lot of big sight-gags, but there's enough here that should entertain.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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