The Story of Temple Drake

Watch The Story of Temple Drake

  • NR
  • 1933
  • 1 hr 11 min
  • 7.1  (1,786)

The Story of Temple Drake is a 1933 film directed by Stephen Roberts and based on the novel Sanctuary by William Faulkner. It stars Miriam Hopkins as Temple Drake, William Gargan as Stephen Benbow, and Jack La Rue as Trigger. The film follows Temple, a young woman from a prominent southern family who becomes entangled with Trigger, a bootlegger and gangster. After being kidnapped and taken to a brothel, Temple is rescued by Stephen, a lawyer who recognizes her from their childhood. As she tries to reconcile her actions with her upbringing, Temple becomes the target of Trigger's vengeance and Stephen's desire.

The Story of Temple Drake was controversial upon its release for its depiction of sexual violence and moral decay. The Production Code Administration forced several changes, including the removal of references to rape and the addition of a condemnation of Temple's behavior at the end of the film. Despite these alterations, the film was still considered too lurid for some theaters and was banned outright in several states.

Critics at the time were divided on the film's merits. Some praised Hopkins' performance as a departure from her usual roles, while others criticized the film's sensationalism and lack of moral clarity. Over time, The Story of Temple Drake has come to be seen as an important example of pre-Code Hollywood and a reflection of the anxieties of Depression-era audiences.

While the film strays from Faulkner's original novel, the themes and atmosphere of Sanctuary are still present. The brutal violence and corruption of the film are a reflection of the larger societal issues of the time, including the collapse of the agricultural economy and the rise of organized crime. Through Temple's journey from innocence to guilt, the film explores the consequences of breaking social and moral codes.

The performances of the lead actors are also noteworthy. Miriam Hopkins delivers a nuanced portrayal of a woman torn between her upbringing and her desires, while William Gargan provides a strong counterpoint as the upstanding lawyer who tries to save her from herself. Jack La Rue is menacing as Trigger, embodying the dangerous allure of the underworld.

The Story of Temple Drake is not an easy film to watch, but it is a compelling one. It presents a world where the rules have been thrown out and anything is possible, for better or for worse. The film's ending, which sees Temple returning to her old life as if nothing has happened, is a stark reminder that even the most disturbing of events can be ignored and forgotten in the face of societal expectations.

Overall, The Story of Temple Drake stands as a testament to the power of cinema to confront social and cultural issues head-on. Despite its controversial reception, the film remains a potent reminder of the forces that shape our lives and our actions.

The Story of Temple Drake
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 11 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (1,786)