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Desire in the Dust (1960)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 5 February 1961 (UK)
Lonnie Wilson, the son of a toothless sharecropper, Zuba Wilson, returns to small southern hometown after spending six years on the chain-gang for killing Colonel Ben Marquand's son in an ... See full summary »


William F. Claxton


Harry Whittington (novel), Charles Lang (screenplay)
Won 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Raymond Burr ... Col. Ben Marquand
Martha Hyer ... Melinda Marquand
Joan Bennett ... Mrs. Marquand
Ken Scott ... Lonnie Wilson
Brett Halsey ... Dr. Ned Thomas
Edward Binns ... Luke Connett
Margaret Field ... Maude Wilson (as Maggie Mahoney)
Douglas Fowley ... Zuba Wilson
Kelly Thordsen ... Sheriff Wheaton
Rex Ingram ... Burt Crane
Jack Ging ... Peter Marquand
Anne Helm ... Cass Wilson
Irene Ryan ... Nora Finney
Paul Baxley Paul Baxley ... Thurman Case
Robert Earle Robert Earle ... Virgil


Lonnie Wilson, the son of a toothless sharecropper, Zuba Wilson, returns to small southern hometown after spending six years on the chain-gang for killing Colonel Ben Marquand's son in an automobile accident. He revives his love affair with Melinda Marquand, who is now Mrs. Melinda Thomas, since she married Dr. Ned Thomas, while Lonnie was serving time, in her place, for the accident she caused. Somewhat miffed about all this, Lonnie incites Dr. Ned about his wife's infidelity, which Dr. Ned verifies when he catches Lonnie and Melinda in a semi-torrid embrace in Colonel Marquand's hunting lodge. Melinda, looking for an explanation for this situation, shoots and wounds Lonnie to defend her innocence by claiming she was being raped. Colonel Marquand,who had bribed Lonnie to take the blame for his daughter, uses her story to try and have Sheriff Wheaton kill Lonnie, and put an end to all this mess. But there is another reel or two before this mess ends. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Kin by kin or sin by sin...their hidden desires rocked a town! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


There was a 7-year age difference between Joan Bennett and Raymond Burr, playing husband and wife, and also between Burr and Martha Hyer, playing father and daughter. See more »


The heckler in the bar jerks his head back and to the side before Lonnie's punch reaches him. See more »


Cass Wilson: I don't like to kiss men with whiskey on their breath.
Zuba Wilson: Well you better get used to it honey or it's going to cut down on your list of spooning partners considerable.
See more »

User Reviews

Six years in prison...for nothin'.
18 February 2018 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Lonnie (Ken Scott) just got out of prison for vehicular homicide. The problem is that through the course of the movie you realize that he didn't do it but took the rap for his girlfriend, Melinda (Martha Hyer). But when Lonnie gets into town, he learns that Melinda is married and she didn't wait for him! Nice girl, huh? Well, through the course of the film you come to realize that she's actually much, much worse!

This film definitely pushed the envelope back in 1960...deliberately so. The fim begins with a scene where you THINK you see someone skinny dipping and the story is filled with sleazy elements and some cursing as well as the word 'rape'....somewhat tame by modern standards but certainly not for 1960!

So is it worth seeing? Well, the acting quality is very good and it's a well made film. Whether or not you will like it will depend a lot on whether or not you like sleazy soap operas. I enjoyed it.

By the way, this film has some very strange billing. Although Kent Scott clearly plays the leading character in the film, he gets fourth billing. And, although Joan Bennett received third billing, she's barely in the film.

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Release Date:

5 February 1961 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Begierde im Staub See more »

Filming Locations:

Clinton, Louisiana, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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