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Friday, August 12, 2022
Among Vidor’s best known films, Duel in the Sun endures as one of the most psychologically and politically rich and visually remarkable Westerns Hollywood ever produced. Jennifer Jones stars as Pearl Chavez, a biracial young woman sent to live with her white relatives after her father catches her mother with a lover and murders her. Upon arriving, Pearl crosses paths with her distant cousin Laura Belle’s two sons, scoundrel Lewt (Gregory Peck) and stately Jesse (Joseph Cotten), initiating a sequence of events that will change the lives of all three. Something like a Greek tragedy in a ten-gallon hat, Duel in the Sun is at once an exploration of the psychic climate in America after World War II and a critique of American racism. Print courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art.