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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
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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

The film was nicknamed "Lust in the Dust", which would later serve as the inspiration for the film Lust in the Dust (1985). 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

Narrator: And this is what the legend says - a flower, known nowhere else, grows from out of the desperate crags where Pearl vanished. Pearl - who was herself a wild flower sprung from the hard clay, quick to blossom and early to die.
See more »

Connections

Version of Wang hun gu (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

First Party Music
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Frank Perkins
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Overblown, but entertaining and essential for Western fans.
1 December 2002 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

In the trade, this film was derisively known as "Lust in the Dust" and the critics were lukewarm. The Catholic Film Office rated it "C" for "condemned," presumably due to its smoldering sexuality, and Protestant churches denounced it for Walter Huston's windbag and satirical preacher, "The Sinkiller." Just about the only people who liked it were producer David O. Selznick and the public.

By late 1980's, times had changed so much that "Duel in the Sun" was shown in the early evening on Baltimore's Channel 24, then a family-oriented station owned by a bible publisher, Thomas Nelson. It was available on video at that time from Playhouse Video, a family imprint of CBS-Fox! Today, nearly sixty years after its release, we can perhaps consider the film objectively.

In a filmed interview years later, King Vidor said that he signed on to this film expecting it to be a small scale psychological Western like the later "High Noon." However, producer Selznick, relatively young and already living in the shadow of his "Gone With the Wind," consciously or/and unconsciously tried to equal or outdo that film with this one. The result is a Western epic built upon a non-epic story, making it seem a bit grandiose or overblown. Tiomkin's grand and beautiful score for this film would seem better suited for a tale about a true epic, such as a story about the cavalry campaigns or the building of the Pacific railroads.

Inspite of itself, the core of this film is a fascinating psychological Western based on the interplay of varied and sometimes contrasting characters. The acting is excellent, a possible exception being Lionel Barrymore's hamming, which burns up the scenery like a prairie fire and is often irritating. The production values are superb and the scenes of the confrontation with the railroad should be studied by student filmmakers.




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