Time: 138 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (Jones) and Best Supporting Actress (Gish).
SYNOPSIS: Two brothers fight over possessing the body and soul of a young woman under their family's protection.
BOTTOM LINE: More a woman's picture than a western, this oversized, hokey melodrama crackles with sexual tension, brutal anger and uncontrolled jealousy. The story revolves around Pearl (Jones), a young Mexican American girl sent to live with old family friends after the death of her father. She immediately finds herself the object of desire for both Jesse (Cotten) and Lewt (Peck), two brothers who are as different as night and day. She tries to ignore Lewt and fall for Jesse, but the choice is not up to her and once Lewt claims her for his own, there's no one who can save her from his predatory attentions. Jesse attempts to protect her, but family politics force him away from the ranch, leaving Pearl to fend for herself from his lusty clutches.
She convinces herself that Lewt loves her and is going to make an honest woman of her, but she couldn't be more wrong. Neither are the marrying kind. Their passion turns deadly when Pearl attempts to free herself from Lewt, who refuses to let go. This film was banned in many cities upon its' initial release due to its' intense sexual content. Peck's character is brutally charismatic and unrelenting in his desire for Jones. He doesn't take no for an answer and though she protests, she doesn't really mean it. Not exactly upstanding behavior. This was Jones first grownup role and she captures the duel nature of Pearl's desire fairly well. It's often way over the top, but the lustful chemistry between the gorgeous Jones and manly Peck makes up for it. Definitely not your average fairytale love story, which is why I liked it more than I should.