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Intruder in the Dust (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Intruder in the Dust
DVD cover
Directed byClarence Brown
Screenplay byBen Maddow
Based onIntruder in the Dust
1948 novel
by William Faulkner
Produced byClarence Brown
StarringDavid Brian
Claude Jarman Jr.
Juano Hernández
CinematographyRobert Surtees
Edited byRobert Kern
Music byAdolph Deutsch
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • November 22, 1949 (1949-11-22) (United States)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$837,000[1]

Intruder in the Dust is a 1949 crime drama film produced and directed by Clarence Brown and starring David Brian, Claude Jarman Jr. and Juano Hernandez. The film is based on the 1948 novel Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner.

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The film closely follows the plot line of the Faulkner novel. It tells the story of Lucas Beauchamp, (pronounced 'Bee-cham'), a respectable and independent black man, who is unjustly accused of the murder of white man Vinson Gowrie. Through the help of two teenage boys, the town lawyer and an elderly lady, he is able to prove his innocence.



Clarence Brown, who had been born in Massachusetts but was raised in Tennessee, wanted to do a film version of the book when it was released in 1948. As a mainstay of MGM for over two decades, he asked studio head Louis B. Mayer about doing a film adaptation, but he had his doubts over whether it would be a profitable venture. Dore Schary, recently brought in as a vice president of production, gave support to Brown, which allowed the film to go through. Brown insisted on filming in Oxford, Mississippi, where Faulkner had lived for most of his life.[3]


According to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer records the film earned $643,000 in the U.S. and Canada and $194,000 elsewhere, for a worldwide box office of $837,000.[1][2]

In 1950, David Brian and Juano Hernandez were respectively nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Most Promising Newcomer – Male at the 7th Golden Globe Awards.[4] The film was listed as one of the ten best of the year by The New York Times. Faulkner said of the film: "I'm not much of a moviegoer, but I did see that one. I thought it was a fine job. That Juano Hernandez is a fine actor--and man, too."[5]

More than 50 years later, in 2001, film historian Donald Bogle wrote that Intruder in the Dust broke new ground in the cinematic portrayal of blacks, and Hernandez's "performance and extraordinary presence still rank above that of almost any other black actor to appear in an American movie."[6] The film has been praised by Ralph Ellison and the New York Times.[7]

Of the various race-related features released in 1949 (such as this film and Pinky, released months earlier), author Ralph Ellison cited Intruder in the Dust as “the only film that could be shown in Harlem without arousing unintended laughter, for it is the only one of the four in which Negroes can make complete identification with their screen image.”[8]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 93% from 41 reviews.[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ a b Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 431
  3. ^ "Intruder in the Dust captures the chilling reality of Jim Crow | Library of America". Retrieved 2023-02-24.
  4. ^ "Early Black Cinema", True West Magazine, August 2005, p. 22
  5. ^ "Faulkner's Home, Family and Heritage Were Genesis of Yoknapatawpha County". The New York Times. 7 July 1962. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  6. ^ Bogle, Donald (2001). Toms, coons, mulattoes, mammies, and bucks: an interpretive history of Blacks in American films (Fourth ed.). London: Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-1267-X.
  7. ^ Dargis, Manohla; Scott, A. O. (February 1, 2018). "28 Days, 28 Films for Black History Month" – via
  8. ^ "Intruder in the Dust captures the chilling reality of Jim Crow | Library of America". Retrieved 2023-02-24.
  9. ^ "Intruder in the Dust (1949)" – via

External links

This page was last edited on 16 June 2023, at 20:59
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