Lust In The Dust (1984)

PAUL BARTEL

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5

USA, 1984.    Screenplay by .   Cinematography by .   Produced by , .   Music by .   Production Design by .   Costume Design by .   Film Editing by

The title, taken from the humorous nickname given to David O. Selznick’s ridiculously ripe 1946 melodrama Duel In The Sun, should be an indication of what you’re getting into even before shows up on screen in this good-natured spoof of spaghetti westerns.  Divine and mysterious gunman show up in an abandoned outpost at the same time, learning of a legend that gold is buried in a secret location with only an inscrutable limerick protecting knowledge of its whereabouts.  is fabulous as the bar owner who is also interested in finding this treasure, but she and Divine also have their sights set on Hunter, who apparently has a very big gun in his holster (and he knows how to shoot both of them).  Divine’s femininity-burlesque is exceptionally funny, she lampoons the disingenuous protestations of virginal archetypes with genuine vulgarity while also being vulnerable at the same time, her performance style always feels innocent even at its most tasteless.  Kazan is all sharp edges and vibrant charisma as her less demure counterpart, and the plotting is endless silliness and excuses for shamelessly corny jokes.  A shame, then, that the film concludes with a sensible and logical ending: a film that feels like it’s constantly promising to break out in the western version of the food fight in The Great Race never does, but it does feature some wonderfully risque humour and the actors all let the audience share in their good fun.  makes a welcome appearance as a concerned priest.

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