Wednesday, 30 September 2015

I've Just Seen: Duel in the Sun (1946)

Duel in the Sun (1946)
Director: King Vidor

My problems with melodrama were rather irritated by this film. It is technically classified as a Western, but the scenery often vies with the overwrought emotions of the actors. The film is comparable to Gone With the Wind; a rather sweeping story, with a young woman torn between two very different men at the centre. The two films also had David O. Selznick as producer, and looked gorgeous in Technicolor. But where Gone With the Wind succeeded, with its acting, Duel in the Sun faltered.

The attractiveness of the images (and people) on screen were the most enjoyable parts of this film. The costumes are lovely, though at times barely managing to cover Jennifer Jones in some scenes. Gregory Peck is the meanest I have seen him, but I could see why Jones' Pearl was attracted to him. Of the actors, Lillian Gish was the best, showing a subtle to her acting that she had in her silent films.

Ultimately I didn't really like this; characters swung from one extreme emotion to another, without any real explanation about how they got there. While Pearl's predicament is hard and she is judged by all for the way she looks, the film handled that plot without any depth. A disappointment, despite the cast.


  1. I sort of love this movie. I saw parts of it years and years ago and for years, I would think of how stunningly beautiful Jennifer Jones is (and her performance is HILARIOUS, but in a good way) and I love Lionel Barrymore - "I don't know why they call her PEARL! They oughta call her POCAHONTAS! Or MINEHAHA!) - in this. (Also - Lillian Gish and Butterfly McQueen as Vashti.)

    But I finally saw the whole thing a number of years ago, and I lied it, but it just goes on for too long. I think I've only seen it all the way through just the one time.

    But every once in a while, I'll notice it's on and I'll switch to that station and watch it for 30 or 40 minutes. Fun fun fun!

    1. She certainly is beautiful, and I have to say that Gregory Peck is swoon worthy in this film (though his bad behaviour is a huge turn off!).

      It is too long; I probably could have put up with the emotional see-sawing if it had been shorter.