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

According to King Vidor, director Josef von Sternberg was hired only as a lighting expert by David O. Selznick in order to give his wife--and the film's star--Jennifer Jones a more glamorous look. See more »

Goofs

In Pearl's shootout with Lewt, her bright red lipstick disappears in the time from she is between the rocks where she is shooting and when she clutches her shoulder. It's not smeared - it's completely gone without a trace. See more »

Quotes

Pearl Chavez: If I'm not good enough to marry, I'm not good enough to kiss.
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

Featured in Martin Scorsese: True Confessions (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Overproduced Western Epic Is A Guilty Pleasure!
25 March 2001 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

Everything about 'Duel in the Sun' is overripe: the music, the photography (those red sunsets a la GWTW), the strong emotions and the climactic duel on a blazing desert sun by the two mismatched lovers. Indeed, the excesses are almost operatic in proportion--and yet, a viewer can get caught up in this sprawling western rightly termed "Lust in the Dust" by some reviewers. The rampant sensuality of the steamy scenes between Peck and Jones are emphasized by Dimitri Tiomkin's luscious background score which becomes blistering and intense for the climactic shootout. Overproduced, overacted, overwritten--it still entertains and makes us appreciate the genius of David O. Selznick whose hand on all of the material is quite evident. Jennifer Jones was nominated for her tempestuous Pearl Chavez (but lost to Olivia de Havilland for 'To Each His Own'). Lillian Gish deserved her Oscar nomination. And last but not least, let's not forget Walter Huston, who gives the most realistic and enjoyable performance in the entire film as The Sin Killer--a wickedly funny portrayal. Weakest aspect of the film is Gregory Peck's easygoing villain--his whole performance strikes a false note and is not the least bit convincing. He and Joseph Cotten should have switched their roles--Cotten always made a more believable villain than Peck. Selznick obviously was striving to make a western on the level of GWTW--even including Butterfly McQueen for comic relief. All in all, fun to watch if you don't take any of it seriously. Not exactly a work of art--but definitely worth watching. And, oh, that ripe technicolor!


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