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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:

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

The British writing-directing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger were shown a pre-release screening of the film by producer David O. Selznick. Both were thoroughly unimpressed with the movie, but didn't want to offend Selznick by saying so. At the end of the film, when Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones are crawling towards each other on a mountain and when they get near each other they both open fire, Pressburger turned to Powell and whispered, "What a pity they didn't shoot the screenwriter". 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

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Inside the Actors Studio: Martin Scorsese (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

First Party Music
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Frank Perkins
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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