Duel In The Sun

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metsfan
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Duel In The Sun

Post by metsfan »

Could someone tell me why this film is so hated? I remember reading a lot of bad things on the TCM forum and last week I saw it for the first time. The film was pretty good and the actors did well in my opinion.
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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

I know of a few for whom it is regarded as a very entertaining movie, or maybe a "guilty pleasure". I don't have any guilt about enjoying it---I think it's a lot of fun! Gregory Peck is terrific as an all-out heel, and so sexy at it! Jennifer Jones dragging at his heels is something that has to be seen to be believed.

It has a kind of baroque, no-holes-barred style that I can appreciated, but some find it too much I suppose.

It's such a "big" film in many ways, and those tend to rub a lot of critics and certain types of film "connaisseurs" the wrong way. They tend to dislike this movie along with anything by DeMille, George Stevens et al. Me, I like.
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movieman1957
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Post by movieman1957 »

I've heard that many thought it a bit over-the-top. It was Selznick trying to repeat "gone With The Wind" out west. (I think it's nickname was "Lust In The Dust.") Selznick tried to make it a huge thing for Jones and didn't quite make it.

Here's a link - http://www.filmsite.org/duel.html
Chris

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knitwit45
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Post by knitwit45 »

I remember reading in a book written by a makeup artist (can't remember his name or the title..sorry) that David O. spent days and dollars moving sand around, because it was casting unflattering shadows on Jennifer Jones legs.

There was a whole chapter devoted to her, to Marilyn Monroe, to LucyBird Johnson (the daughter), Barbara Rush and many others. Wish I could remember the title. Anyone have any ideas?
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Moraldo Rubini
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Re: Duel In The Sun

Post by Moraldo Rubini »

metsfan wrote:Could someone tell me why this film is so hated? I remember reading a lot of bad things on the TCM forum and last week I saw it for the first time. The film was pretty good and the actors did well in my opinion.
Duel in Sun has always been controversial. The first preview audiences at the Grand Lake theatre in Oakland, California loved the spectacle, but laughed at the melodrama. The preview cards were the worst that [producer] Selznick had received, calling the story "trash" and the performances "obscene". United Artists refused to distribute it, resulting in Selznick suing Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin and starting his own distribution company Selznick Releasing Organization.

Before eventual release, he neglected to screen the movie for the National Legion of Decency. Upon release, Life magazine wrote,
When a single movie offers murder, rape, attempted fratricide, trainwrecking, fisticuffs, singing, dancing, drunkeness, religion, range wars, prostitution, sacred and profane love, all in 135 minutes, the fact that it has neither taste nor art is not likely to deter the sequeamish.
Screenwriter Charles Brackett called it "The Outlaw in bad taste."

The movie was drawing in crowds and making big bucks when the Catholic Legion of Decency got around to seeing it, and forbade all Catholics from attending the movie. Archbishop Cantwell declared it "morally offensive" and "spiritually depressing", thus forcing Selznick to cut three more minutes. The controversy assured an even greater box office.

So yea, it's lurid and tasteless. It's one of those movies that I love because it's so bad.
MikeBSG
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Post by MikeBSG »

I've never seen "Duel in the Sun," but I've heard all the "Lust in the Dust" jokes and know it gets no respect.

Several years ago, I read a book, "The Crowded Prairie," which was a history of movie westerns by a British scholar whose name I can't remember now. It was a terrific book.

Anyway, he argued that it was the box office success of "Duel in the Sun" that really seeded the ground for the post-WWII boom in the production of Westerns. So "The Gunfighter," the cavalry trilogy, and "Winchester '73," he argued, owed their existance to this rather despised forerunner.
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metsfan
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Post by metsfan »

Thank you all for clearing this up! I've learned so much through the article and bits of information provided as to why this film was a disaster. Selznick had guts in trying out this scandalous story on the big screen. I was initially shocked by the behavior of the main characters and the language used so it's understandable why people were outraged.
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sugarpuss
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Post by sugarpuss »

MissGoddess wrote:I know of a few for whom it is regarded as a very entertaining movie, or maybe a "guilty pleasure". I don't have any guilt about enjoying it---I think it's a lot of fun! Gregory Peck is terrific as an all-out heel, and so sexy at it! Jennifer Jones dragging at his heels is something that has to be seen to be believed.
I totally agree with you on this! It's such a fun movie--one of my favorite scenes is where Lillian Gish is crawling out of bed, dying and Lionel Barrymore is just sitting and talking, and totally ignoring poor, dying Lil! And then she drops and THEN he finally pays attention to her. Men.

For all the Gregory Peck movies I've seen, this is my favorite. He's SO sexy in this one. It's nice to see him being bad for once. He was bad in "The Boys From Brazil" but Hitler mustaches are never sexy on anyone, no matter how handsome they may be.

Another interesting thing is that Joseph Cotten didn't want to do this movie, but Selznick insisted and then allowed him to pick out his own wardrobe, to which everyone then called him "Dressy Jesse". After I read that, I did notice his clothes were nicer than everyone else's in the movie. Also, Teresa Wright was supposed to be cast as Pearl, but she became pregnant. Thank goodness because I don't know if she could have carried all that overheated sexuality off. I just can't see her as the vampy, sexy type at all.

I'm always amazed to see how controversial this was. By today's standards, I think the stuff on soap operas and network tv are much, much racier than Duel in the Sun[/b[. But I love it. Everytime I see it on the Western channel, I wind up watching it again.
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metsfan
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Post by metsfan »

What do you all make of Walter Houston's character the "sin killer"? This man was a joke! You could tell by the way he looked at Pearl that he was lusting for her. The devotion Mrs. McCanles had for this man is funny. In the room while he's "cleansing" Pearl of sin, she kneels down and prays.
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ken123
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Post by ken123 »

metsfan wrote:What do you all make of Walter Houston's character the "sin killer"? This man was a joke! You could tell by the way he looked at Pearl that he was lusting for her. The devotion Mrs. McCanles had for this man is funny. In the room while he's "cleansing" Pearl of sin, she kneels down and prays.
Is ' the sin killer ' any different from toaday's TV preachers ? While I believe that Jennifer Jones was at her most sensual in " Duel in the Sun ", I also feel that Linda Darnell would have been even better. But, then again wasn't married to Selznick. :wink:
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