Desire in the Dust (1960)

102 mins | Melodrama | September 1960

Director:

William F. Claxton

Producer:

William F. Claxton

Cinematographer:

Lucien Ballard

Production Designers:

Ernst Fegté, John Mansbridge

Production Company:

Associate Producers, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film closes with the following written acknowledgment: "This picture was photographed in its entirety in Southern Louisiana with the assistance of Elmore Morgan, Judge Woodrow Overton, Joseph Sidney Phelps and the good people of Clinton and Zachary. The producer is grateful for the aid of William Wells and the Louisiana State Parks and Recreation Committee." The HR production chart noted that location filming was done in Baton Rouge, LA. According to a Feb 1960 HR news item, Ray Stricklyn was considered for a role in the picture. The Var review incorrectly spelled Aubrey Moore's name as "Audrey." Although onscreen credits read "and introducing Anne Helm and Jack Ging," Desire in the Dust marked the screen debut of Helm, but not Ging, who made his debut in the 1959 film Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! (see ... More Less

The film closes with the following written acknowledgment: "This picture was photographed in its entirety in Southern Louisiana with the assistance of Elmore Morgan, Judge Woodrow Overton, Joseph Sidney Phelps and the good people of Clinton and Zachary. The producer is grateful for the aid of William Wells and the Louisiana State Parks and Recreation Committee." The HR production chart noted that location filming was done in Baton Rouge, LA. According to a Feb 1960 HR news item, Ray Stricklyn was considered for a role in the picture. The Var review incorrectly spelled Aubrey Moore's name as "Audrey." Although onscreen credits read "and introducing Anne Helm and Jack Ging," Desire in the Dust marked the screen debut of Helm, but not Ging, who made his debut in the 1959 film Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! (see below). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Sep 1960.
---
Daily Variety
13 Sep 60
p. 3.
Film Daily
13 Sep 60
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Feb 60
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 60
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 60
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Sep 60
p. 844.
New York Times
12 Oct 60
p. 47.
Variety
14 Sep 60
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Supv film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Ward woman
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
MAKEUP
Hair dresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Construction
Prod secy
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Desire in the Dust by Harry Whittington (Greenwich, CT, 1956).
DETAILS
Release Date:
September 1960
Production Date:
June 1960
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
15 September 1960
Copyright Number:
LP17432
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
102
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

The small town of Clinton, Louisiana uneasily awaits the return of Lonnie Wilson, the sharecropper's son who is coming home after serving a six-year prison sentence for manslaughter. At the Marquand mansion, a deranged Mrs. Marquand sings happy birthday to Davey, her young son, whom Lonnie was convicted of running over and killing years earlier. At the Wilson farm, Lonnie is lovingly greeted by his father Zuba and older sister Maude, but his younger sister Cass spurns him because she has fallen in love with Peter Marquand, Davey's older brother. At the mansion, meanwhile, Col. Ben Marquand, the wealthy family patriarch, chastises the weak-willed Peter for his alliance with Cass, "the sister of the man who killed his little brother." After dinner that night, Lonnie drives to the Marquands' hunting lodge for a passionate tryst with Melinda Marquand, his former flame and Ben's sultry daughter. The next day, Ben visits Luke Connett, the publisher of the local newspaper, to ask for his endorsement for governor, but the scrupulously honest Luke opposes Ben's candidacy. After spending a torrid night with Melinda, Lonnie learns from Luke that she has married Dr. Ned Thomas, the physician who is caring for her disturbed mother. Furious, Lonnie races to the Marquand house, where Melinda proposes that they continue their affair even though she is now married. Repulsed, Lonnie is about to leave when Ben offers him the deed to his family's farm in return for his continued silence about the circumstances of Davey's death. Reeling from betrayal, Lonnie gets drunk, but when he sobers up, he discovers that the Wilsons have benefitted by the generosity ... +


The small town of Clinton, Louisiana uneasily awaits the return of Lonnie Wilson, the sharecropper's son who is coming home after serving a six-year prison sentence for manslaughter. At the Marquand mansion, a deranged Mrs. Marquand sings happy birthday to Davey, her young son, whom Lonnie was convicted of running over and killing years earlier. At the Wilson farm, Lonnie is lovingly greeted by his father Zuba and older sister Maude, but his younger sister Cass spurns him because she has fallen in love with Peter Marquand, Davey's older brother. At the mansion, meanwhile, Col. Ben Marquand, the wealthy family patriarch, chastises the weak-willed Peter for his alliance with Cass, "the sister of the man who killed his little brother." After dinner that night, Lonnie drives to the Marquands' hunting lodge for a passionate tryst with Melinda Marquand, his former flame and Ben's sultry daughter. The next day, Ben visits Luke Connett, the publisher of the local newspaper, to ask for his endorsement for governor, but the scrupulously honest Luke opposes Ben's candidacy. After spending a torrid night with Melinda, Lonnie learns from Luke that she has married Dr. Ned Thomas, the physician who is caring for her disturbed mother. Furious, Lonnie races to the Marquand house, where Melinda proposes that they continue their affair even though she is now married. Repulsed, Lonnie is about to leave when Ben offers him the deed to his family's farm in return for his continued silence about the circumstances of Davey's death. Reeling from betrayal, Lonnie gets drunk, but when he sobers up, he discovers that the Wilsons have benefitted by the generosity of the colonel and tacitly accepts Ben's deal. After arranging to meet Melinda at the lodge that night, Lonnie informs Ned of his wife's infidelity and their planned rendezvous. That evening, as Melinda and Lonnie passionately embrace at the lodge, Melinda is startled by a noise and runs out on the veranda to see her husband retreating into the dark. Realizing that Lonnie has set her up, she shoots him in the shoulder, rips her dress and phones his father to tell him that Lonnie has tried to rape her. Melinda then warns Lonnie to leave before Ben arrives with his pawn, Sheriff Otis Wheaton. When Lonnie comes home wounded, he refuses a doctor's aid, and when he stumbles out the door, bent on revenge, Zuba fells him with one blow and sends Maude to ask Luke for help. When Luke arrives, Lonnie confesses that Melinda, in a drunken state, ran down her little brother and that the colonel persuaded him to accept the blame. After instructing Lonnie to remain at the farm, Luke informs Ned that Melinda was lying and suggests that he accompany him back to the Wilson farm. As Ned treats Lonnie and learns the truth about his wife, Lonnie is traced to the farm by Otis, his deputies and tracking dogs. While the dogs pursue Lonnie through the swamps, Ned, with Peter watching, forces Mrs. Marquand to face Davey's death and then realizes that she must have witnessed Melinda run down her own brother. Taking refuge in the lodge, Lonnie is surrounded by Otis, the deputies and baying dogs. Soon after, Luke arrives and offers to try to convince Lonnie to surrender. When Otis allows Luke to enter the lodge, Luke picks up a rifle and fires in Lonnie's defense, then phones Ned to alert him of the proceedings. After conferring with Peter, Ned drives to the lodge, where he finds Ben and Melinda waiting for Lonnie's arrest. Following Ned's plan, Peter notifies Melinda that their mother has tried to commit suicide, sending Ben and Melinda racing home. As their car speeds up the driveway, the sounds of squealing tires and the racing engine sparks Mrs. Marquand's memory of the day of the accident. When Peter dashes in front of the car and pretends to be hit, Mrs. Marquand hysterically accuses Melinda of killing Davey. Ned witnesses the incident, and when the colonel tries to coerce him into silence, Ned turns away in disgust and Peter denounces his father and sister. Peter and Ned then return to the lodge and inform Otis that the charges against Lonnie are all lies. Now exonerated, Lonnie gives Zuba the deed to the farm, and the old man dances in delight, thrilled to finally own his land. +

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

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