Wednesday, July 15
‘Duel in the Sun’ Starring Gregory Peck?
Different plot, different players and no Turnberry.
THE OTHER NIGHT I WATCHED the Golf Channel’s presentation of “Duel in the Sun,” a 30-minute program about the classic showdown between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus at the 1977 British Open at Turnberry. Paired with Watson on the weekend, the Golden Bear shot 66-66. It wasn’t good enough. Watson’s 66-65 over the final 36 holes secured his second of five Claret Jugs.
I love “Duel in the Sun”: the setting, the great players and the golf drama. And the name? I love that too. It sounds like a movie title. And then I found out it is a movie title.
Following is a quick look at the original “Duel in the Sun” and other similarly named films. Spoiler alert: They have nothing on the Watson-Nicklaus duel. Sorry, Hollywood.
‘Duel in the Sun’
United Artists 1946
Starring Gregory Peck, Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotton
Description: A half-breed girl causes trouble between two brothers.
Tagline: Emotions as violent as a wind-swept prairie.
My comment: While the wind-swept prairie sounds a lot like an Open course, I have to ask the question: Where’s the golf?
‘Follow the Sun’
Twentieth Century Fox 1951
Starring Glen Ford and Anne Baxter
Description: The inspiring film biography of the courageous champion golfer Ben Hogan.
Tagline: Two kids from Texas who fought their way back to the top of the world!
My comment: Props for the first-ever golf movie, but the golf-challenged Ford is no Ben Hogan.
‘A Raisin in the Sun’
Columbia Pictures 1961
Starring Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee
Description: A substantial insurance payment could mean either financial salvation or personal ruin for a poor black family.
Tagline: The prize-winning drama that warms the screen with its people and its passions!
My comment: Sidney Poitier is a movie icon and apparently has played golf, according to biographer Aram Goudsouzian.
TV movie 1971
Starring Dennis Weaver
Description: A businessman is pursued and terrorized by a malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer.
Tagline: A duel is about to begin between a man, a truck, and an open road. Where a simple battle of wits is now a matter of life and death.
My comment: This movie has a cult following and was the first feature film directed by Steven Spielberg. No disrespect to Mr. Spielberg, but I would have liked it more had Weaver stopped at a driving range rather than a café.
−The Armchair Golfer