6.9/10
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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

According to the "Hollywood Reporter" of Oct. 13, 1944, when Niven Busch was to have been writer and producer (prior to David O. Selznick's involvement), he had John Wayne and Hedy Lamarr originally set for the leading roles. 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

The Sinkiller: I don't really know much about Sam Pierce, oh Lord, but from what I hear, he'd be needing no introduction to you. Seeing how Sam was snatched from his loved ones' arms before they even had time to get a good grip on hm, I'm counting on you to give him a better break up yonder.
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

Featured in The Men Who Made the Movies: King Vidor (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

The Rye Waltz (Comin' Thru' the Rye)
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Frank Perkins
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
She's a good girl that Pearl
20 December 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

David O. Selznick spent the rest of his life trying to top Gone With the Wind. What other mountains did he have to climb after making the most acclaimed motion picture ever?

In addition he had another obsession, his second wife Jennifer Jones. He was going to make her the greatest leading lady in the history of film.

Well he didn't succeed at either, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Jones herself was in a peculiar position similar to her husband's. She got an Oscar for her first feature film after she changed her name from Phyllis Isley to Jennifer Jones. Selznick knew that she couldn't play saints all her life as she did in The Song of Bernadette. So for this western answer to Gone With the Wind as Pearl Chavez she plays about as opposite a character from Bernadette Soubirous as you can get.

Duel in the Sun got mixed reviews by the critics, but the public ate it up. It's the story of the McCanless family, parents Lionel Barrymore and Lillian Gish and sons Joseph Cotten and Gregory Peck. Cotten is the good son, Peck the bad one. In fact as Lewt McCanless Peck played his worst character until Josef Mengele in Boys from Brazil.

A kissing cousin of their's Jennifer Jones comes to live with them. She's the offspring of an old beau of Lillian's, Herbert Marshall and the Indian wife he ran off with back in the day. Lillian and Herbert were kissing cousins also.

As Pearl Chavez, Jen gets the McCanless boys testosterone going into overdrive. Take one look at her and you can hardly blame them.

One of the not so hidden subtexts of Duel in the Sun is racism. Jennifer's good for a quick roll in the hay, but marriage is out of the question, at least for Gregory Peck. Barrymore's and Peck's racism is overt, the others not quite so, but it's still there.

The negotiations with Louis B. Mayer for Lionel Barrymore must have been interesting. Selznick's former wife was Irene Mayer, Louis's daughter.

One thing with Selznick, he spared no expense. He got the best in talent for this film. Dimitri Tiomkin did the score, King Vidor the direction, Ray Rennahan the color photography which is absolutely stunning.

He even got Bing Crosby to record Gotta Get Me Somebody to Love with Les Paul's guitar. Peck sang it in the film, Crosby's record sold a few platters.

He even got Orson Welles to do the off-screen narration if you don't recognize that voice.

It misses being a classic mainly because Selznick couldn't keep his hands off it. Sometimes the acting is about as subtle as a sledgehammer from all the performers. I'm willing to bet it's Selznick more than Vidor.

Yet it's good entertainment and Duel in the Sun does have its moments.


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