The Story Of Temple Drake

  • 1933
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Crime

During Prohibition days, Miriam Hopkins, the wildly hedonistic daughter of a well-to-do judge, Sir Guy Standing, rejects the marriage proposal of an upstanding young attorney, William Gargan. Hopkins prefers to continue partying with her retinue of college-boy admirers, who are southern decadence personified. Driving in a roadster with drunken William Collier,...read more

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During Prohibition days, Miriam Hopkins, the wildly hedonistic daughter of a well-to-do judge, Sir Guy Standing, rejects the marriage proposal of an upstanding young attorney, William Gargan. Hopkins prefers to continue partying with her retinue of college-boy admirers, who are southern

decadence personified. Driving in a roadster with drunken William Collier, Hopkins finds herself forced by circumstance into an alien world: a minor auto accident causes the two scions of southern wealth to seek assistance in a shack that is temporary headquarters for a mob of degenerate

hooch-running hoodlums led by the sinister Jack LaRue. Others in the group are the toadying James Eagles, muscleman Irving Pichel, and Pichel's mistress, Florence Eldridge. The terrorized Collier is quickly sent on his way, but Hopkins is forced to stay and is raped (implicitly) by LaRue. Later,

LaRue guns down the cringing Eagles, arranging things so that Pichel will appear to be the culprit. LaRue carries Hopkins off to the city and installs her as a feature attraction in his bordello. Initially outraged and resistant, Hopkins gradually finds herself enjoying her role. When she and

LaRue finally have a falling-out, Hopkins kills him with his own gun. Since the gangster's demise is mourned by nobody, this killing goes unpunished. However, the moronic bootlegger, Pichel, is brought to trial for the murder of Eagles. Freed from her life of degradation in the brothel, Hopkins

realizes that her silence will sustain her former southern-belle reputation. Moved by a spark of decency, however, she chooses to testify--in the presence of her one-time sweetheart, attorney Gargan--to the sordid elements of her rape and subsequent captivity in order to save the unfortunate

Pichel from execution. Author William Faulkner's scornful tale about southern aristocracy was a bombshell in its day. The Hays Office--Hollywood's self-censorship society of the time--had specifically warned the studios against attempting to film the story. When Paramount elected to film the

notorious novel, despite the negative injunction, the Hays Office advised the studio that no reference to the novel in the film's credits or publicity would be tolerated. THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE bears the dubious distinction of being the chief reason for the establishment the following year of

the Roman Catholic Church's Legion of Decency, which prohibited Catholics from viewing proscribed pictures. Despite these obstacles, screenwriter Oliver H.P. Garrett's script stays reasonably close to Faulkner's novel. Hopkins gives an excellent performance, and LaRue is all evil. Many of the

supporting players over-emote in silent-screen style in what is otherwise a well-mounted production. The film was remade in 1961 in a far inferior, though more explicit, version, under the title SANCTUARY, starring Lee Remick and Yves Montand.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: During Prohibition days, Miriam Hopkins, the wildly hedonistic daughter of a well-to-do judge, Sir Guy Standing, rejects the marriage proposal of an upstanding young attorney, William Gargan. Hopkins prefers to continue partying with her retinue of college… (more)

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