Desert Fury

Screening on Film
Directed by Lewis Allen.
With John Hodiak, Lizabeth Scott, Burt Lancaster.
US, 1947, 35mm, color, 95 min.
Print source: Paramount Pictures

Like Mildred Pierce, Desert Fury is a mother-daughter melodrama that evolves into a film noir—perhaps the only 1940s film noir in color. At the same time, the overheated dialogue, the tough female casino owner protagonist and an undercurrent of homoeroticism make it a kind of harbinger of Johnny Guitar. When the casino owner’s daughter starts dating a racketeer, people get upset: the girl’s mother, the racketeer’s very devoted sidekick and the local sheriff. Adding to the drama is the mounting sexual tension between the casino owner and the sheriff. Desert Fury is an excellent example of the gloss that producer Hal Wallis brought to noir during the years after he quit Warner Brothers and set up his own production company, finding distribution through Paramount. 

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100 Years of Paramount Pictures