Sanctuary

  • 1961
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Darryl F. Zanuck, in the grand old Hollywood tradition of nepotism, allowed his son Richard (who was still in his 20's) to produce this for Fox. Based on two Faulkner books (Sanctuary and Requiem for a Nun) and the stage adaptation of the latter by Ruth Ford, it's a Grecian tragedy set in Mississippi in the late 1920s. Odetta, a black woman in her early...read more

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Darryl F. Zanuck, in the grand old Hollywood tradition of nepotism, allowed his son Richard (who was still in his 20's) to produce this for Fox. Based on two Faulkner books (Sanctuary and Requiem for a Nun) and the stage adaptation of the latter by Ruth Ford, it's a Grecian tragedy set in

Mississippi in the late 1920s. Odetta, a black woman in her early 30's, is sentenced to death for having murdered Remick's baby by her husband, Dillman. Odetta has scant hours left and Remick tells her father, St. John, who is the governor of Mississippi, the truth about what's gone on in the past

few years as she attempts to get St. John to pardon Odetta. Flash back to see Remick six years earlier as a happy college co-ed romantically involved with Dillman. Dillman is a spoiled college boy who wants Remick's body. He gets plastered one night and takes her to a corncrib but isn't quite up

to the task. She is later raped by Montand, a Cajun bootlegger (in the book, the character was not a Cajun, but since they'd signed Montand, there had to be some way to account for that accent) and experiences a sexual excitement unlike anything she's ever had before. The next day, she is so

enthralled by Montand that she doesn't fight his advances, but welcomes them. Soon after, they go to New Orleans to live in a brothel together (the set of this bordello is ludicrous to the point of being a parody), where Remick adores her life. Odetta becomes Remick's maid, and everything is jake

until Remick hears that Montand has died in a car crash. She shrugs, sighs, and seeks sanctuary back home in her little town. Hardly any time passes before she marries Dillman and settles into a ho-hum existence, a far cry from the excitement of New Orleans. To remind her of those days, she hires

Odetta to stay with her so they can reminisce together. Two children arrive quickly and so does Montand, who didn't die at all. Remick is tempted to toss aside her secure life and run off with Montand, but Odetta, sensing that, thinks there is but one way to shock Remick into reality, so she

smothers the baby. Flash forward and St. John is stunned to hear all this, but the fact remains that Odetta did kill his own grandchild and he won't stay the execution. Remick pays her last call on the doomed Odetta and realizes that it's her maid's sacrifice that has brought her back to her

senses.

Not a picture for children, this was first made in 1933 as THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE and is so filled with degradation and degeneracy that it makes most of the works by Tennessee Williams look like Aesop's Fables. Julie London sings the title song.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Darryl F. Zanuck, in the grand old Hollywood tradition of nepotism, allowed his son Richard (who was still in his 20's) to produce this for Fox. Based on two Faulkner books (Sanctuary and Requiem for a Nun) and the stage adaptation of the latter by Ruth Fo… (more)

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