6.9/10
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96 user 42 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:

FURIOUS, UNFORGETTABLE LOVE! (original print media ad - all caps) 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's musical score was the subject of a famous soundstage exchange between producer David O. Selznick and composer Dimitri Tiomkin. When Selznick first heard Tiomkin's "love theme", he was visibly disappointed and admonished the composer, "You don't understand. I want real f**king music!" To which Tiomkin angrily replied, "You f**k your way, I f**k my way. F**k you - I quit!" Their differences were eventually patched up, and Tiomkin's music was used in the final film. See more »

Goofs

Helen's hand goes from the banister to her side when Pearl says she is glad that Helen and Jesse are bespoken. See more »

Quotes

Sen. Jackson McCanles: So that's where you stand!
Jesse McCanles: I think I'd rather be on the side of the victims than of the murderers.
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 Reed Hadley), 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

Remade as Lust in the Dust (1984) 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 »

User Reviews

 
Loud, boisterous, silly but hugely enjoyable sex Western
12 November 2002 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

A half-breed named Pearl (Jennifer Jones) is sent off to live with her second cousins after her parents are killed. She disrupts the household causing problems between two brothers--one named Lewt (Gregory Peck) who's bad and Jesse (Joseph Cotten) who's good. She also is hated by the father (Lionel Barrymore) and protected by the mother (Lillian Gish).

Beautifully filmed in Technicolor this is a fun movie. The dialogue is full of howlers and, for it's time, this was pretty strong stuff. The emphasis is on sex and that bothered audiences in the late 40s. An entire dance by Jones was cut out and the release of the film was delayed because of the content! Today it's very tame and pretty funny.

Jones is horribly miscast as Pearl. She's very beautiful and wears tight, revealing clothing all through the film, but her acting is terrible. She sneers and glares her way through all her scenes and seems incapable of saying any line believably. Peck is surprisingly very good playing an evil man. Cotten and Gish are stuck with thankless good person roles. Barrymore REALLY chews the scenery. And the opening narration is by Orson Welles!

This movie was made by David O. Selznick to showcase his then girlfriend (and future wife) Jones. Purportedly he made this with serious intentions. It was a big hit but most critics dismissed it as trash. Today it's just a true camp classic. Hysterically bad but beautifully filmed and loads of fun. The climax especially is a howler. A great party flick.

In it's own way, this is a definite must-see.


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