Intruder in the Dust (1950)

87 mins | Drama | 3 February 1950

Director:

Clarence Brown

Writer:

David Wolff

Producer:

Clarence Brown

Cinematographer:

Robert Surtees

Editor:

Robert J. Kern

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Randall Duell

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Intruder . A Jul 1948 HR news item noted that M-G-M paid $50,000 for the film rights to William Faulkner's novel. A Feb 1949 HR news item indicates that Joel McCrea was considered for the part played by David Brian. Although late Mar and early Apr 1949 HR production charts list Albert Akst as the film editor, onscreen credits list Robert Kern.
       Intruder in the Dust marked the first major screen appearance of former radio and stage actor Juano Hernandez (1901--1970). Previously, Hernandez had appeared in minor roles in three African-American films, beginning with The Girl from Chicago (1932, see above) and ending with Lying Lips (1939, see below), both of which were directed by noted African-American director and producer Oscar Micheaux.
       Intruder in the Dust was shot on location in Oxford, MS. As the town was segregated at the time of production, Hernandez was forced to live apart from the rest of the film's cast and crew. According to an Apr 1949 NYT article, Hernandez stayed with a local African-American undertaker. According to a Dec 1949 DV news item, director Clarence Brown shot the picture without a sound track, and then dubbed the dialogue after the completion of camera work. Although the professional actors dubbed their own voices, Brown used radio actors' and extras' voices for those of the local Oxford people who appeared in the ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Intruder . A Jul 1948 HR news item noted that M-G-M paid $50,000 for the film rights to William Faulkner's novel. A Feb 1949 HR news item indicates that Joel McCrea was considered for the part played by David Brian. Although late Mar and early Apr 1949 HR production charts list Albert Akst as the film editor, onscreen credits list Robert Kern.
       Intruder in the Dust marked the first major screen appearance of former radio and stage actor Juano Hernandez (1901--1970). Previously, Hernandez had appeared in minor roles in three African-American films, beginning with The Girl from Chicago (1932, see above) and ending with Lying Lips (1939, see below), both of which were directed by noted African-American director and producer Oscar Micheaux.
       Intruder in the Dust was shot on location in Oxford, MS. As the town was segregated at the time of production, Hernandez was forced to live apart from the rest of the film's cast and crew. According to an Apr 1949 NYT article, Hernandez stayed with a local African-American undertaker. According to a Dec 1949 DV news item, director Clarence Brown shot the picture without a sound track, and then dubbed the dialogue after the completion of camera work. Although the professional actors dubbed their own voices, Brown used radio actors' and extras' voices for those of the local Oxford people who appeared in the picture. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
15 Oct 1949.
---
Daily Variety
4 Oct 49
p. 7.
Daily Variety
11 Oct 49
p. 3.
Daily Variety
28 Dec 49
p. 2.
Film Daily
11 Oct 49
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 48
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 48
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 49
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 49
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 49
p. 44.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Apr 49
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Apr 49
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 49
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 Oct 49
p. 49.
New York Times
10 Apr 1949.
---
New York Times
23 Nov 49
p. 19.
Variety
12 Oct 49
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Clarence Brown Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec supv
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner (New York, 1948).
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 February 1950
Premiere Information:
Oxford MS premiere: 10 October 1949
Production Date:
late February--late April 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
27 September 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2556
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
87
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13920
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

A short time after Vinson Gowrie, a white lumberman, is found murdered in a small town, Lucas Beauchamp, a black landowner, is arrested and charged with the killing. As Lucas is led by Sheriff Hampton through an angry crowd of people gathered at the jail house, he turns to Chick Mallison, a white youth he has befriended, and asks him to summon John Gavin Stevens, Chick's lawyer uncle, to his aid. Recalling the November day he first met Lucas, Chick later tells John the story of how he and the black man became friends: While on a rabbit-hunting expedition with his black friend Aleck, Chick falls into an icy river and nearly drowns, but is rescued by Lucas, who owns the land around the river. Lucas takes Chick to his home and gives him food and dry clothes, but Chick, who has not been taught to respect black people, does not know how to react to his generosity. One day, at Fraser's General Store, Chick witnesses a group of white men taunting Lucas, and sees Vinson attempt to strike Lucas on the head. While Chick watches in motionless silence, some of the men surround Vinson and prevent him from completing the assault. Chick concludes his story by telling John that, despite his silence, Lucas considers him to be his friend and has placed his trust in him. John reluctantly agrees to take the case, and when he and Chick visit Lucas in his jail cell, Lucas tells them that he was beaten by a white lumberman, who forced him to identify his business partner, Vinson, as the man who was stealing lumber from him. Lucas ... +


A short time after Vinson Gowrie, a white lumberman, is found murdered in a small town, Lucas Beauchamp, a black landowner, is arrested and charged with the killing. As Lucas is led by Sheriff Hampton through an angry crowd of people gathered at the jail house, he turns to Chick Mallison, a white youth he has befriended, and asks him to summon John Gavin Stevens, Chick's lawyer uncle, to his aid. Recalling the November day he first met Lucas, Chick later tells John the story of how he and the black man became friends: While on a rabbit-hunting expedition with his black friend Aleck, Chick falls into an icy river and nearly drowns, but is rescued by Lucas, who owns the land around the river. Lucas takes Chick to his home and gives him food and dry clothes, but Chick, who has not been taught to respect black people, does not know how to react to his generosity. One day, at Fraser's General Store, Chick witnesses a group of white men taunting Lucas, and sees Vinson attempt to strike Lucas on the head. While Chick watches in motionless silence, some of the men surround Vinson and prevent him from completing the assault. Chick concludes his story by telling John that, despite his silence, Lucas considers him to be his friend and has placed his trust in him. John reluctantly agrees to take the case, and when he and Chick visit Lucas in his jail cell, Lucas tells them that he was beaten by a white lumberman, who forced him to identify his business partner, Vinson, as the man who was stealing lumber from him. Lucas is cautious and refuses to tell John any more details about the incident, but he privately asks Chick to dig up Vinson's body to prove that the bullet that killed Vinson was not fired from his gun. Although John opposes Chick's plan to exhume Vinson's body, Chick later finds an ally in Miss Eunice Habersham, an elderly woman who believes that Chick may be on the trail of an important clue. Late one night, Miss Habersham, Aleck and Chick go to the chapel at which Vinson is supposed to have been buried and begin digging up the grave. When they open the coffin, however, they are surprised to discover that it is empty. The discovery of the missing corpse convinces John and the sheriff that Lucas is innocent, and they join Chick in his search for Vinson's body. With help from Nub Gowrie, Vinson's father, John, the sheriff and others follow a trail of footprints that lead to a patch of quicksand near a river. Vinson's body is retrieved from the quicksand, after which it is determined that the bullet that killed him could not have been fired from Lucas' gun. Back in town, an angry crowd of white men, led by Vinson's brother Crawford, surrounds the jail house and demands that Lucas be lynched. Meanwhile, inside the jail house, Lucas tells John and Chick that although he was present when Vinson was shot and can identify Vinson's business partner, he never saw the man who fired the gun. Concluding that Vinson's business partner must be the killer, and that he is trying to frame Lucas for the murder, the sheriff and John decide to set a trap for the killer. After announcing that Lucas has been released from jail, the sheriff waits for the killer to try to silence Lucas. The plan works, and the killer is revealed to be Crawford. Crawford is arrested, and as he is led into the jail house, the townspeople gathered outside the jail house disperse. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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