1. Sam Juliano

    “Wide-eyed and gorgeous, a not so young Miriam Hopkins brings a simmering sexuality to her portrayal of a woman whose lurid appetites are kept in check by a veneer of respectability – and a genuine awareness of her tendency to self-destruct.”

    I would have to agree Tony that the plot and story is second fiddle here (even with the obvious potential because of the great Faulkner’s prose as the source) and that Karl Strauss’ expressionistic cinematography gives this film visual distinction. More than any other film TEMPLE DRAKE is often given the credit for bringing about the creation of the Hays Code, and though the context here is tame by today’s standards, it was understandably quite a big deal in 1934. You dissection of Miram Hopkins’ now legendary performance is absolutely brilliant, and the best I have yet read on the film’s most vital component. Yes this essential viewing for both pre-code adherents and fans of American cinema. I had the great fortune of seeing this at the pre-code festival years back at the Film Forum.

    Great review here!

  2. Thanks Sam. I have read that movie did not cause much of a stir on release as the promotion was low-key. From what I have read of the period, the reactionaries were responding to lurid marketing more than the actual content, as few actually saw the movies they were condemning. The more things change…

  3. Bill

    I did not see this review until now, so I am a little behind in commenting. Like this movie very much, but I wanted to make one correction: this was not a Warner Brothers film, I suspect if it had been it would have been issued in their “Forbidden Hollywood” series years ago. Since it was released by Paramount, and is now owned by Universal (they own all early Paramount talkies) it is not likely to be legally issued anytime soon, unfortunately.

  4. Thanks Bill for the heads up. I have corrected the post. Much appreciated.

    I do know that a new print was made when The Story of Temple Drake was shown at the 2010 TCM Festival. According to the Row3 site, TCM asked the Museum of Modern Art, which had received a high-quality camera negative from Fox as part of a general archive donation, to restore and strike a print for the festival. But yes, no DVD on the horizon.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.