Duel in the Sun

Duell in der Sonne
After a tragic bout of jealousy costs the lives of both her parents, the “half-breed” Pearl Chavez is taken in by a distant relative, the wife of a Texas rancher, Senator Jackson McCanles. There she meets the couple’s two sons. The elder brother, Jesse, treats her with respect, while younger brother Lewt makes aggressive sexual overtures to Pearl that culminate in rape. From that moment on, the two are locked into a fiery hate-love relationship that inexorably advances towards the final scene, which gives the film its title … David O. Selznick may have set his sights on topping the success of Gone with the Wind (1939) with this outsized melodrama. Half a dozen directors and cinematographers were involved in the production, alongside a host of period advisors for, among other things, weapons, dances, and ranch life in the 19th century. In 1954, Vidor wrote, “the picture started out to be a moderate-sized western. When we had finished, it was just about the most super-duper-Technicolor ever made”. Although he left the production before the shoot was over, after a fight with the omnipotent producer, Duel in the Sun is still the film most closely associated with King Vidor’s name.
by King Vidor, William Dieterle
with Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Gregory Peck, Lionel Barrymore, Herbert Marshall, Lillian Gish, Walter Huston, Charles Bickford, Harry Carey, Joan Tetzel
USA 1947 English 135’ Colour, 35 mm Restored version Rating R16


  • Jennifer Jones
  • Joseph Cotten
  • Gregory Peck
  • Lionel Barrymore
  • Herbert Marshall
  • Lillian Gish
  • Walter Huston
  • Charles Bickford
  • Harry Carey
  • Joan Tetzel


DirectorKing Vidor, William Dieterle
ScreenplayDavid O. Selznick, Oliver H. P. Garrett
StoryNiven Busch, Duel in the Sun (1944)
CinematographyLee Garmes, Harold Rosson, Ray Rennahan
EditingHal C. Kern
MusicDimitri Tiomkin
SoundJames G. Stewart
Production DesignJ. McMillan Johnson
Art DirectorJames Basevi
CostumesWalter Plunkett
Assistant DirectorsLowell J. Farrell, Harvey Dwight
ProducerDavid O. Selznick

Produced by

Vanguard Films, Inc.

Additional information

Print: Restored by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, with support from The Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation

King Vidor

Filmography (selection)

1919 The Turn in the Road; Lost film 1925 The Big Parade (Die große Parade) 1928 The Crowd (Ein Mensch der Masse) 1929 Hallelujah 1934 Our Daily Bread (Der letzte Alarm) 1938 The Citadel 1940 Northwest Passage (Nordwest-Passage) 1947 Duel in the Sun (Duell in der Sonne) 1949 The Fountainhead (Ein Mann wie Sprengstoff) 1956 War and Peace (Krieg und Frieden) 1959 Solomon and Sheba (Salomon und die Königin von Saba)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020