11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crazy, excessive western: love it or leave it!
Antirealistic, flaming, passionate, overripe... these are some of the words that come to mind when speaking of this movie. David Selznick clearly wanted to repeat the success of "Gone with the wind" with another epic, sprawling movie... He failed, but this torrid western melodrama, so excessive that it sometimes reaches true camp, has achieved cult status. Not...
Published on 27 Feb 2001
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pearl, you're curved in the flesh of temptation.
Duel in the Sun is predominantly directed by King Vidor and is produced and written by David O. Selznick who adapts (with help from H.P. Garrett & Ben Hecht) from Niven Busch's novel. It stars Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Gregory Peck, Lillian Gish and Lionel Barrymore; with a huge support cast list that contains the likes of Herbert Marshall, Walter Huston, Charles...
Published on 4 Feb 2011 by Spike Owen
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crazy, excessive western: love it or leave it!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Duel in the Sun--Roadshow Edition [DVD] (DVD)Antirealistic, flaming, passionate, overripe... these are some of the words that come to mind when speaking of this movie. David Selznick clearly wanted to repeat the success of "Gone with the wind" with another epic, sprawling movie... He failed, but this torrid western melodrama, so excessive that it sometimes reaches true camp, has achieved cult status. Not for everyone's tastes, but shot in exquisite Technicolor and made with great style and plenty of visual symbolism. A movie which defies the sense of ridicule, but which remains strong and vigorous even today!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pearl, you're curved in the flesh of temptation.,
David O. Selznick had hoped to recreate, even surpass, the success he had had with Gone With the Wind 7 years previously, only in a Western setting. Plagued with controversy both on and off the screen, the film, in spite of poor reviews, was a box office hit. Tho it's believed that due to high production costs and a cash driven advertising campaign, that the film ultimately only broke about even. The controversy on the screen stemmed from the sexual nature of the story, something that earned the film its famous "Lust In The Dust" nickname. Yet were it not for the Hays Code censors and religious review boards, the film would have been far more controversial, out went rape and a downplaying of the overt sexuality that existed prior to the cuts. Off screen controversy came in the form Selznick's relationship with Jones, a coupling that would break up both their respective marriages. The role of Pearl was originally meant for Hedy Lamarr, and even Teresa Wright was lined up too, but both women fell pregnant. Thus Selznick got the chance to shoehorn in his love and push her to the forefront of the movie with almost tyrannical urgings. 8 directors, 3 writers, 3 cinematographers & 4 editors would ultimately be used (that we know of). While bad weather, strikes and illness to Jones would also plague production. It's a wonder the film got finished at all.
It's an odd film in many ways, but one that appears now to have been very harshly treated by the critics of the day. That's not to say it's a masterpiece of classic Oater cinema, because it's not. But if viewed as a fun Horse Opera with Selznick getting away with as much as he can, then it's not half bad at all. Certainly the cast seem to be playing it as a fun piece of work, especially the wonderful Huston as OTT minister man, The Sinkiller. So viewed without expectation of serious melodrama, Duel In The Sun delivers some fun entertainment. Granted not all of it is intentional; the ending for one is preposterous and mirthful when really it shouldn't be. But the fact remains that the film is entertaining. Action wise it scores well, with stand out scenes including Jones on a runaway horse, hundreds of mounted horsemen riding to defend grumpy Jackson McCanles' (Barrymore) land against railroad incursion, and Peck (playing a sexual rebel type) taming a sex crazed stallion (even the horse knows what is expected of it here!). Then there's the vast scope of the Western vistas, that are in turn dripping with lurid Technicolor.
The terms beautiful and sordid spring to mind, now that is surely two words that aptly apply to the film as a whole? For the best performances one needs to look into the support cast, where Bickford, the afore mentioned Huston, Gish and the always enjoyable Butterfly McQueen, all deliver stoic like performances. Jones is a touch miscast, saddled with being the epicentre of the film (and Selznick's attentions), she at least deserves credit for trying to make the so-so writing work. She certainly looks beautiful and in the more quiet moments for her character the good actress threatens to break out. Peck, in a role originally meant for John Wayne-who balked at the sexiness of the plot, gives it gusto supreme, but whilst acknowledging it being an unusual role for him-so thus a brave choice, he never once convinces as a sexual dynamo. Cotton gets the short straw in that the role is badly underwritten, which when one considers that the story is essentially a Cain & Abel based story; he deserved better. While Barrymore is solidly doing what he does best and his only failing here is to not be as good as his on screen wife. Musically, Dimitri Tiomkin provides a competent if unmemorable score.
Fun, sexy and with little snatches of daring in the plot, Duel In The Sun is better than some would have you believe. But maybe, just maybe, it needs to be viewed with a glint in the eye and the tongue firmly planted in cheek? 7/10
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Monument to Love.,
The story features Peck and Cotton as Cain and Abel brothers fighting for the affections of the beautiful half blooded Mestiza, Pearl Chavez. They also fight against their crippled patriarchal father Lionel Barrymore, who sees his cattle empire threatened with the coming of the railroad. Pearl wants to be a good girl, but she just can't help herself. She is drawn to the dark side and the dubious charms of Peck's very bad Lewt McCandles. Straight laced good brother Joseph Cotton has no chance. We head to one of the most preposterous and melodramatic screen endings of all time. Almost so bad it has to be good. Move over all those Japanese Godzilla movies!
Jennifer Jones gives a totally demented performance as the girl torn between good and evil, and eventually but unsurprisingly succumbs to her passions. Selznick with huge reservoirs of manic energy held the whole creaking giant together. King Vidor directs with a sultry vision that led to moral outrage on the films release. It also helped it become the most commercially successful western of all time. Nothing like a whiff of scandal to help the box office receipts! The rest of the cast is a who's who of Hollywood acting legends of the time. Walter Huston, Lillian Gish, Charles Bickford and that early screen cowboy hero Harry Carey also memorably appear.
The film contains many delirious scenes. Perhaps my favourite being when Huston tries to preach the devil out of Pearl. You just know it ain't going to work. The ending, well you will just have to see that for yourself. No it is not a classic or a masterpiece, but it is certainly very, very unique. We shall certainly not see its like again methinks. For its sheer overwhelming bravado this film has to be worth four stars. Fasten your seat belts its gonna be a bumpy ride!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply, a masterpice !,
Here the love is really love , the hate is really hate . Look at it on the eyes of Jennifer Jones . What an amazing performance this is !
And it could show us that a movie could be done without explicit sex scenes , and yet is one of the sexiest movies made until now , it's all lush and desire . A masterpiece of the cinema, a visual treat !
A love proof from a producer ( David O'Selznick ) to his muse and wife ( Jennifer Jones ) .
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Western with genius Act,
This review is from: Duel in the Sun--Roadshow Edition [DVD] (DVD)Comentary to Lawyeraau Words !
3 Stars for a 5 Star Western is very poor. The Cast, the player, the Camera, the light
Jennifer Jones are all great.
If a person give this Western only 3 Stars mark it would be the same you said Vicent Van Gogh
or Rembrand are worse Painter.
Movies like this are timeless. Such Story, Act and director are absolut brilliant.
I watches at least 3000 or 4000 movies.Most of them were Classics.
If i sent to a lonly Island and could 20 movies
bring on this Island to stay for 2 Years on it Duell in the Sun was one of it.
Others would be great funny Movies like Pillow Talk with Doris Day or the wonderful light
Sunday in New York with Jane Fonda and Rod Taylor.
For all New Viewers Great to look and very good for alltime looking.
Its absolutly timless as Portrait of Jenny. A Milestone !!!!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Cinema Classic,
5.0 out of 5 stars Duel in the Sun,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
cannot match anything like this today.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars LAUGHABLE YET CURIOUSLY ENJOYABLE...,
This review is from: Duel In The Sun (Roadshow Edition) [VHS] (VHS Tape)This 1946 western boasts spectacular, technicolor cinematography and a script that is sometimes laughable. Directed by Hollywood notable, King Vidor, one wonders whether he was under pressure by the producer, David O. Selznick, and was more of a puppet rather than a director. That can be the only explanation for this directorial faux pas. It is so over the top in its excesses that in the first five minutes the viewer sees some wild, almost hysterical dancing, the cuckolding of a husband, and two murders arising out of that nasty domestic situation.
The storyline is simple. A Spanish Grandee, Scott Chavez (Herbert Marshall), married the wrong woman, a wild and passionate Indian, instead of his true love, Laura Belle. Together they have a child whom they named Pearl. Known as a half breed, Pearl Chavez (Jennifer Jones), wants to be a lady, a "good girl". Given who her mother was, however, no one wants to give her a chance to prove herself. When her father knows he is to die, he packs her off to his first love, Laura Belle (Lillian Gish), who lives in Texas and is married to Senator McCanles (Lionel Barrymore). They have two sons, Jesse (Joseph Cotten) and Lewt (Gregory Peck). Jesse is the good son and his mother's favorite, while Lewt is a spoiled rake and his father's favorite.
When Pearl arrives at the McCanles ranch, Lillian greets her warmly, as does Jesse. Senator McCanles, her overbearing husband, however, treats Pearl to some racist, politically incorrect invective, while Lewt eyes her lasciviously. Needless to say, a love triangle of sorts develops. Ultimately, both sons want her, but they both can't have her. Jesse treats Pearl like a lady, while Lewt treats her like a wanton. Pearl falls in love with one of them with predictably disastrous results.
Herbert Marshall, as the Spanish Grandee with regrets, gives an effective performance, although he is somewhat miscast. Lillian Gish gives an excellent portrayal of the put upon Laura Belle, though her death scene is so melodramatic that it is hard to keep a straight face. Lionel Barrymore is also excellent, though a little over the top in his performance. I have to say, I loved Gregory Peck as the bad guy. He gives a truly terrific performance. The viewer gets a sense that Peck really seemed to be enjoying himself. Joseph Cotten oozes integrity in the role of the saintly Jesse. Butterfly McQueen, as Vashti the maid, is, well, Butterfly McQueen, with her distinctive, high pitched voice holding sway over the viewer. Charles Bickford, as the ranch straw boss, Sam Pierce, gives a restrained and moving performance as the man who truly loves and wants to marry Pearl, a desire that Lewt will do everything to thwart.
Jennifer Jones, quite frankly, is utterly laughable as Pearl. If she had not been the producer's main squeeze at the time, I doubt that she would ever have been cast for the part of Pearl. So over the top is her performance, so filled with pouty grimaces, histrionics, and sultry poses, that her portrayal of Pearl rises to the level of high camp. The scene where she grabs Lewt's leg in a histrionic fit, declaring her undying love as he walks away, dragging her across the floor, is a bit much. I suspect that the director's handling of Ms. Jones' portrayal of Pearl was the director's way of getting back at the producer. If so, the director succeeded in giving it to the producer in spades.
Notwithstanding this, the film is still a moderately enjoyable western. For those who object to its political incorrectness, remember to keep in mind the social context out of which it arose. The times, they are a changing.
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Duel in the Sun [DVD] [US Import] by William Dieterle (DVD - 1999)