Duel in the Sun

Duel in the Sun

King Vidor (1946)

124min
PG Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Pull up an armchair for a wonderful wallow in one of the wackiest melodramas ever made. Producer David O Selznick intended this costly production to be the equal of his Gone with the Wind. What he ended up with was a lurid western that, in its day, managed to offend church leaders and censorship boards alike. (Unsurprisingly, it became a massive financial hit - second only to The Best Years of Our Lives in the box-office tally for the entire decade.) Jennifer Jones stars as mixed-race Pearl Chavez and Gregory Peck plays lewd Lewt McCanles, roles that must surely have embarrassed them in hindsight. The infamous finale is simultaneously ludicrous and stunning, as Jones and Peck, both wounded, orgasmically crawl towards each other as the desert sun blazes down. (It was this that led audiences to refer to the movie as Lust in the Dust.) Dimitri Tiomkin's score is splendid, and the use of Technicolor is especially striking: on a big screen in a good print, this is one of the best films ever made with that colour process. Although credited to director King Vidor, many cooks baked this pie, including William Dieterle and Dietrich's mentor Josef von Sternberg. As sexy, exciting and stupid as Hollywood gets, this is a real one-off, full of many pleasures - just throw away your mind.

Summary

A hellraising cowboy and his clean-cut brother fall into a bitter feud over a beautiful girl, while their father - a Texan senator and cattle baron - fiercely resists the encroachment of land by the railroad companies and the settlers arriving in their wake. King Vidor's Western, starring Gregory Peck, Joseph Cotten, Jennifer Jones, Lionel Barrymore and Lillian Gish.

Cast & Crew

Lewt McCanles Gregory Peck
Jesse McCanles Joseph Cotten
Pearl Chavez Jennifer Jones
Senator McCanles Lionel Barrymore
Sam Pierce Charles Bickford
Laura Belle McCanles Lillian Gish
Scott Chavez Herbert Marshall
Jubal Crabbe Walter Huston
Director King Vidor
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Selznick Corp LtdAvailable on: video and DVD
Drama