..is my entry into The 4th Annual Sex! (Now that I have your attention) Blogathon. I’ve been at a bit of a loss as to what movie to write about for MovieMovieBlogBlog‘s Blogathon (whom I’m sure had given up hope on receiving an entry from me despite my promise to submit 😉 ). I’d picked a movie, yet wasn’t quite convinced…and then it hit me…how could this Blogathon not have a post on Duel in the Sun (1946)? It is suggestive from the very beginning…and never really lets up…
Just look at the very first image we see…
Come on…it gives such a clear indication of what is yet to come…before it has even started.
So, while many don’t like it (even I have a love-hate relationship with it), it did receive two Oscar nominations (for Jennifer Jones (Best Actress in a Leading Role) and Lillian Gish (Best Actress in a Supporting Role)). But it’s quite the story…loaded with sexual innuendo throughout. The introduction of the movie (during the Overture section), gives us hints…”Duel in the Sun, 2 years in the making, is a saga of Texas in the 1880s. When primitive passions rode the raw frontier of an expanding nation.” Maybe I’m looking too deeply into it (and things were interpreted on a more innocent level way back then) but the words “primitive passion” and “raw frontier”, for me, are as provocative as anything.
Once the movie starts we see Pearl (Jennifer Jones), who the narrator describes as “quick to blossom” (need I elaborate?) dancing, supposedly innocently, but we soon see the sultry side to it (after seeing the actions of her mother as well as the comment made by an acquaintance “Like mother like daughter….I like the daughter better”). At this stage, and often throughout the movie, I think she is sometimes ignorant of what her subconscious really wants. Or…she knows.
Maybe she is still naive at the early stages of the movie (the unstated undertones are definitely there though)…she’s quite happy to change into a green dress for the “good son” Jesse (Joseph Cotton) right there and then on the wagon as they ride home from town. And she’s only known him for a few hours, if that.
But of course, it all gets steamy when we meet (for me, the ultimate bad boy), Lewton/Lewt (Gregory Peck). First thing he does, before his mother even has a chance to introduce him properly, is look Pearl up and down. And boy is this a looking up and down. No words can explain. Things are already heated up and he hasn’t even said anything. As for their simple phrases “Pleased to meet you Lewton.”
and “Pleased to meet you (pause)…Pearl.” – never have introductions been so steamy. Totally confirmed as she drops her eyes to the floor. And we know he’s just desperate to get to know her when mother Laura Belle (Lillian Gish) shows Pearl to her room telling her that she and Lewt will have plenty of time to get to know each other later. “I’m sure we will” utters Lewt out of the ladies’ earshot. Yes Lewt, I’m also sure you will.
Oh my…the screen is sizzling.
And I don’t think it is only Lewt who has some ideas about Pearl. Nice boy Jesse just doesn’t make it as obvious. He’s the lawyer after all. There are expectations in society. Read between the lines when he tells her “I think you’d better go to bed. Like a good little girl.” moments after this:
But fear not…he might send her off to preserve their dignity but Lewt has no problem with showing his desires. He just doesn’t give a damn. He’s waiting for her:
And as she closes her bedroom door after telling him “good night” (while he’s still outside), her gaze to the door tells us she probably does want him coming to visit. She’s intrigued.
Duel in the Sun if filled with such scenes. Nothing romantic (well, not for me), they are purely about lust. Even Lewt “innocently” showing off his horse is simply a different approach to his one goal. One that is visually confirmed in the scene where he chases after her on horseback. Never have two horses galloping had more sexual meaning.
But make no mistake. Pearl isn’t so innocent in all of this. Those swaying hips and fluttering eyelashes don’t help the situation. It doesn’t even go unnoticed by the other cowboys working on the ranch. There’s bound to be trouble at some point. And yes, plenty there is.
I could go on and on about the endless scenes, but by now I think it is very clear what this one is about. Possibly this it isn’t the best movie out there but it is undeniably sensual. And you thought no western could be that, didn’t you? No wonder it was nicknamed “Lust in the Dust”. And if you don’t believe it…once you’re done watching the final dusty and sweaty scene, there won’t be much doubt in your mind.
For my entries into this Blogathon for 2016 and 2017 (and a lighter more romantic movie), head on over here (for Subtly Sexy Pride & Prejudice) and…oh no!!!! I’ve just realised I covered the same movie here last year…well, I honestly hadn’t checked what I’d covered before…promise. Right this minute, as I was finalising and about to publish (while adding the links) I see my entry from last year…gosh, should have stuck with my original choice for this year. Oh well, so, totally new material today, just the same movie as last year (Heated Lust with Duel in the Sun). MovieMovieBlogBlog, I’ll make it up to you in The 5th Annual version of this Blogathon (too late to write a new post now). I guess it pays to know what you’ve written about in the past. Spreadsheet, here we come…