The Story of Temple Drake

For the 1961 film version of the Faulkner novel, see Sanctuary (1961 film).
The Story of Temple Drake
Directed by Stephen Roberts
Produced by Benjamin Glazer
Written by William Faulkner (novel)
Oliver H. P. Garrett
Maurine Dallas Watkins
Starring Miriam Hopkins
Jack La Rue
Music by Karl Hajos (uncredited)
Bernhard Kaun (uncredited)
John Leipold (uncredited;additional music)
Ralph Rainger (uncredited;additional music)
Cinematography Karl Struss
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
20th Television
Release dates
May 12, 1933
Running time
70 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Story of Temple Drake is a 1933 Pre-Code drama film adapted from the highly controversial novel Sanctuary by William Faulkner. Though watered down, the movie was still so scandalous, it was one of the reasons for the introduction of the Hays Code.[1] It starred Miriam Hopkins as a wild Southern woman who falls into the hands of a gang led by the brutal Trigger, played by Jack La Rue.

The film was remade in 1961, this time under the book's original title, directed by Tony Richardson, and with Lee Remick as Temple Drake, Yves Montand as Trigger (this time renamed Candy), Bradford Dillman, Harry Townes, and Odetta in a rare film appearance.

Long unseen except in bootleg 16mm prints, The Story of Temple Drake was restored by the Museum of Modern Art and re-premiered in 2011 at the TCM Classic Film Festival.


Temple Drake, a frivolous young woman from a prominent Mississippi family, is raped and forced into prostitution by Trigger, a backwoods bootlegger, after Trigger shoots and kills a boy who tries to protect her. Another backwoodsman is charged with the murder. When Temple tries to leave Trigger, he becomes angry and is apparently about to assault her, so she grabs his pistol and shoots him, then flees back home to her family. An idealistic lawyer eventually persuades Temple to tell the truth about the first murder on the witness stand and save the defendant's life, even though her testimony will disgrace herself. According to Pre-Code scholar Thomas Doherty, the film implies that the deeds done to her are in recompense for her immorality in falling into a relationship with the gangster, instead of fleeing him.[2]

The relatively upbeat ending of the film is in marked contrast to the ending of Faulkner's novel Sanctuary, in which Temple perjures herself in court, resulting in the lynching of an innocent man.



George Raft turned down the male lead.[3]

See also


  1. "Plot synopsis". Allmovie. Retrieved 2008-03-01.
  2. Doherty, Thomas Patrick (1999). Pre-Code Hollywood: Sex, Immorality, and Insurrection in American Cinema 1930-1934. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 117–8. ISBN 0-231-11094-4.
  3. PROJECTION JOTTINGS New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 19 Feb 1933: X5.
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