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Trivia / Duel in the Sun

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  • Big Name Fan: Martin Scorsese cites this as one of the earliest films he recalls seeing and he considers it a great work discussing it in detail in A Personal Journey Through American Movies.
  • Creative Differences: Director King Vidor wanted to make the movie more of an intimate psychological drama, which clashed with producer David O. Selznick's insistence on greater spectacle and melodrama. In the end, Selznick won out and replaced Vidor before production was completed but did give him sole credit as the director.
  • Executive Meddling:
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    • As mentioned above, producer David O. Selznick intensely involved himself in nearly every aspect of the movie, which caused friction with director King Vidor. Vidor was among at least three directors who worked on the film (not including Selznick, who also helmed some scenes). Selznick's demands further led to numerous script and story changes, which caused production costs to greatly increase. Again, as with directing, Selznick ended up doing some uncredited script revisions himself.
    • Outside of the production, the movie encountered problems with The Hays Code due to the depiction of Lewt and Pearl's relationship, which was considered too overtly sexual at the time. This resulted in more script revisions and scenes having to be reshot or scrapped so the film could be released with Code approval.
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  • Fake Mixed Race: Jennifer Jones as a Mestiza.
  • Fan Nickname: "Lust in the Dust", a name slapped pejoratively at the film by the Catholic Legion of Decency, but which became an affectionate name for the film since it typifies the movie's plot, style and tone.
  • No Export for You: Because of its sexual content the film was not released in Memphis, Tennessee, until 1959.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • The backlash the movie received from moralists wasn't helped at all by the fact that at the time, Jennifer Jones (the lustful Pearl) was known for playing girls-next-door and a literal saint.
    • Likewise, although this role came early in his career, before he became known for mostly playing courageous and upright characters like in To Kill a Mockingbird, seeing Gregory Peck playing an impulsive, lecherous, racist, and—in the end—murderous outlaw is rather jarring.
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  • Real-Life Relative: The film's star Jennifer Jones was producter David O. Selznick's soon-to-be second wife.
  • Troubled Production: Producer David O. Selznick's goal was to top Gone with the Wind, but his habit of extreme micromanagement, which worked for the production of GWTW, could just as easily increase tensions on the set and artistically smother a movie. Also, Selznick was in the process of separating from and divorcing his first wife so he could eventually marry his leading lady, Jones, with whom he had become obsessed with. That obsession, unfortunately, affected many of his decisions. Finally, to keep up with his workaholic schedule, Selznick was taking—and became addicted to—Benzedrine, which only increased his erratic behavior and decision-making during production. Then there were the aforementioned problems with The Hays Code, but Selznick found a way to turn that to his advantage.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The film was originally going to star John Wayne and Hedy Lamarr.
    • Teresa Wright, who was looking to expand beyond the usual girl-next-door roles she played, was also almost cast as Pearl.
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