6.9/10
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Duel in the Sun (1946)

Beautiful half-breed Pearl Chavez becomes the ward of her dead father's first love and finds herself torn between her sons, one good and the other bad.

Directors:

, (uncredited) | 5 more credits »

Writers:

(screenplay), (suggested by a novel by) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Jesse McCanles
...
...
Sen. Jackson McCanles
...
Scott Chavez
...
...
The Sinkiller
...
Sam Pierce
...
Lem Smoot
Joan Tetzel ...
Helen Langford
...
Mrs. Chavez
...
Vashti
Scott McKay ...
Sid
...
Mr. Langford
...
The Lover
Edit

Storyline

When her father is hanged for shooting his wife and her lover, half-breed Pearl Chavez goes to live with distant relatives in Texas. Welcomed by Laura Belle and her elder lawyer son Jesse, she meets with hostility from the ranch-owner himself, wheelchair-bound Senator Jackson McCanles, and with lustful interest from womanising, unruly younger son Lewt. Almost at once, already existing family tensions are exacerbated by her presence and the way she is physically drawn to Lewt. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

FURIOUS, UNFORGETTABLE LOVE! (original print media ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 September 1947 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

King Vidor's Duel in the Sun  »

Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$20,400,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(roadshow)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David O. Selznick's constant rewrites of completed scenes and insistence on reshoots caused director King Vidor to quit and be replaced by William Dieterle, although Vidor and Selznick still remained friends. See more »

Goofs

As the army of ranchers is riding across the Texas range to stop the railroad from entering Senator McCanles' land, the weather in the sky overhead changes from clear to cloudy to clear again between shots. See more »

Quotes

Lewt McCanles: I'm riding back to that hitching post and then turning and starting to shoot.
Jesse McCanles: It's more than you did for Sam Pierce! Why all the consideration?
Lewt McCanles: I just don't want them fancy friends of yours to say you had a brother who shot you down in cold blood.
See more »


Soundtracks

The Bonnie Blue Flag
(uncredited)
Traditional Irish tune, lyrics by Harry McCarthy
Heard as the cavalry leave the railway confrontation
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Just remember, don't call her "Honey".
9 September 2000 | by (Venice, California) – See all my reviews

PURE OPERA. From the scenic backdrops seething in passionate colors to Jennifer Jones' over-ripe performance and Dimitri Tiomkin's tempestuous score...'Duel In The Sun' isn't just another soapy oater, it is the ultimate soapy oater. Brimming with more bad taste than any screenwriter could possibly misconceive, this Selznick classic is the penultimate guilty viewing pleasure...if you like you're Westerns on the sleazy side that is!

The performances are all unapologetically over-the-top, with Ms. Jones, in an Oscar winning performance no less, as Pearl Chavez, the 'half-breed' vixen torn between lust for Gregory Peck's Lewt McCanles, the bad-boy brother gone badder, and the 'save-me-from-myself' brand of love for Joseph Cotten's Jesse McCanles, the good brother with not-a-whole-heck-of-alot of sex appeal going for him. In between all this indecision, Ms. Jones sets fire to the scenery with as many sultry leers and poses as, I suppose, the censors of the time would permit her. "I'm TRASH, TRASH, TRASH," Pearl exclaims. And that about sums it all up. In spades! I should also make mention of the other Oscar winning performance, that by the venerable Lillian Gish as Laura Belle McCanles who, in perhaps the most painfully rapturous sequence, resurrects her silent film training in a tour-de-force of physical acting that, in less capable hands, would only be embarrassing. Not that you won't be tempted to laugh mind you, even Grand Opera, at the best of times, isn't this exquisitely sublime. And then there is Butterfly McQueen...as the befuddled maid (what else)...in the only role written for obvious comedic effect, whose long-winded sincerity couldn't be the more perfect foil for a hurried house full of whitees with nothing but sex on the brain...

On the technical side, it is an unquestionably ravishing film to look at. In glorious Technicolor, the 'Old West' never looked more mythic or more prone to tragedy...the 'campy' side that is. And, yet once more, Dimitri Tiomkin finesses our ears with a resounding melody of wide open spaces and of still bigger ambitions and desires, culminating in a symphonic tempest for two ill-fated (or over-sexed) lovers who could only be united in death.

WOW, this picture is right off the Harlequin Romance map! And I enjoyed every minute of it.


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