6.9/10
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96 user 40 critic

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:

King Vidor, Otto Brower (uncredited) | 5 more credits »

Writers:

David O. Selznick (screenplay), Niven Busch (suggested by a novel by) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jennifer Jones ... Pearl Chavez
Joseph Cotten ... Jesse McCanles
Gregory Peck ... Lewton 'Lewt' McCanles
Lionel Barrymore ... Sen. Jackson McCanles
Herbert Marshall ... Scott Chavez
Lillian Gish ... Laura Belle McCanles
Walter Huston ... The Sinkiller
Charles Bickford ... Sam Pierce
Harry Carey ... Lem Smoot
Joan Tetzel ... Helen Langford
Tilly Losch ... Mrs. Chavez
Butterfly McQueen ... Vashti
Scott McKay ... Sid
Otto Kruger ... Mr. Langford
Sidney Blackmer ... 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:

Emotions . . . As Violent As The Wind-Swept Prairie ! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 September 1947 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

King Vidor's Duel in the Sun See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$20,408,163
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(roadshow)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is listed among The 100 Most Amusingly Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE. See more »

Goofs

When Jesse is sitting in his hotel room, a rock flies through the window, breaking the glass. As Jesse opens the window, a piece of glass falls down and sticks into the lower edge of the window frame. This piece of glass disappears between shots as Jesse talks to the cowboy Sid outside. 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 »

Alternate Versions

The original "roadshow" version ran 144 minutes. The additional 16 minutes, over the commonly-shown 128 minute version, consisted of a musical "prelude," an "overture" (which contained a spoken prologue, by ), and exit music, but no additional scenes in the film. The two additional opening sequences were each inadvertently given the other's label. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Lust in the Dust (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Beautiful Dreamer
(uncredited)
Music by Stephen Foster
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A highly original piece of work that remains impressive, baroque folly, not least for the final scene…
19 November 2007 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

King Vidor was a long-serving and much-respected Hollywood grandmaster who took a serious interest in movie-making… "Billy the Kid" and "Duel in the Sun" hold an important place in the history of the genre… These two films in particular, along with "Northwest Passage," show Vidor's romantic vision of backwoods America and his love of natural landscape; they share, too, an earthy quality which is missing from his more routine action Westerns, "The Texas Rangers" and "Man Without a Star."

Photographed in rich color, the visual magnificence of the film was manifested in the shots of the cowboys galloping across the rolling hills; in the spectacular confrontation between the McCanles forces who aimed to defend Spanish Bit with lead and the U.S. Cavalry; in the deep red sunset sequence with Lionel Barymore as "the lonely Senator"; and in that long shot of the surreptitious meeting between Lewt and his father on the hilltop at sunset…

"Duel in the Sun" is extravagantly and grandiosely passionate and romantic and its characters are much larger than life… A poignant scene was the tremendous moment between two legendary actors (Lionel Barrymore & Lillian Gish) when Laura Belle said to her husband "I'm a nuisance to you even to the end. It's the first time you've been in this room since that night./I loved you, Laura Belle. Yes, sir, I loved you."

Now, when a single movie offers murder, rape, attempted fratricide, train wreck, fiery sensual dance, drunkenness, religion, range wars, prostitution, sacred and profane love and sex as the principal motivation and not as an incidental subplot, and all that against an epic background of empire-building, well, it is for the first time in a Western in such a big scale…

The film featured the story of Pearl Chavez whose past is dark as her coca-stained skin and who loves everybody but loves bad Lewt most often…

Gregory Peck character as Lewt is barbaric, undisciplined, untamed, overwhelming… He is a bad man, all bad, but he is also the lowest, dirtiest, meanest and cool, and he knows how to laugh and have a good time…

Jennifer Jones as Pearl, is the 'prettiest girl ever to set foot on Spanish Bit.' She is a marvelous overwrought minx, wild and sexy…

Joseph Cotton is the calm, educated, refined, pleasant son Jesse who ultimately sides with the railroad against his father…He even threatens to cut the fence wire promising: "I'd rather be on the side of the victims than of the murderers."

Lionel Barrymore is the invalid Senator Jackson McCanles who orders his son, calling him a "Judas," to leave his ranch for as long as he lives…

Lillian Gish is the delicate Laura Belle who blames her husband of spoiling Lewt and she let him do so ever since he was a child making him think that rules weren't made for him…

Herbert Marshall plays Scott Chavez the condemned Southern aristocrat gentleman who sends his daughter to Laura Belle, his second cousin…

Charles Bickford plays Sam Pierce, the boss who gets a little ranch of his own but never run across anybody he wanted to marry… Besides, he never got up nerve enough to ask anybody…

Impassions, pulsating, barbaric, and thunderous, the music matches perfectly the fervid emotionalism of the story…

The film received only two Academy Awards nominations…


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