The Story of Temple Drake (1933) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Story of Temple Drake1933

The Story of Temple Drake (1933)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

William Faulkner's novel Sanctuary was a notorious bestseller upon its publication in 1931, and while it was successful enough that Paramount Pictures quickly snapped up the film rights, they were forced to change enough of the story to make it fit for the screen (even in the "pre-code" era) that by the time it reached theaters the title had been changed to The Story of Temple Drake. Temple (Miriam Hopkins) is a free-spirited girl being raised by a well-respected judge (Guy Standing) after the death of her mother. Temple has a wild streak and a taste for liquor and men she can bend to her will, and while principled lawyer Stephen Benbow (William Gargan) wants to marry her, she's not willing to settle down. While joyriding with Toddy Gowan (William Collier Jr.), a young man with more bravado than sense who wrecks their car, Temple ends up in the decaying home of Lee Goodwin (Irving Pichel), who with leering, sharp suited gangster Trigger (Jack La Rue) makes and sells moonshine. While Lee's life Ruby (Florence Eldridge) and dim-witted helper Tommy (James Eagles) try to protect Temple, cold-hearted Trigger shoots Tommy, rapes Temple and takes her away to the city, where she falls into a relationship with the gangster governed by both attraction and fear. While the most sordid aspects of Sanctuary were excised by screenwriter Oliver H.P. Garrett and director Stephen Roberts, The Story of Temple Drake was still quite controversial on its initial release, and within a few months of its release, Will Hayes and Joseph Breen overhauled the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America's production code and strengthened enforcement of its guidelines on content, making it virtually impossible for a major studio to make a film like it again until the 1960s.


Miriam Hopkins
as Temple Drake
Jack LaRue
as Trigger
William Gargan
as Stephen Benbow
William Collier
as Toddy Gowan
Irving Pichel
as Lee Goodwin
Guy Standing
as Judge Drake
Jobyna Howland
as Miss Reba
John Carradine
as Courtroom extra
Frank Darien
as Gas Station Proprietor
C.L. Sherwood
as Lunch Wagon Proprietor
Oscar Apfel
as District Attorney
Kent Taylor
as Jellybean
Clem Beauchamp
as Jellybean
View All

Critic Reviews for The Story of Temple Drake

All Critics (6)

Essential Pre-code cinema? Yes.

January 8, 2020 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…

Made with the full knowledge of how society at large felt about "girls like her," and those stereotypes of the "loose woman" are consistently interrogated and subverted.

January 4, 2020 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

quite a good film apart from its scandalous reputation, which tends to overshadow any of its other accomplishments

December 27, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

If anyone needs an example of the sort of movie that forced the Hays Office prudes to become moral watchdogs over the American film industry, The Story of Temple Drake will serve just fine.

December 15, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Dated melodrama.

November 8, 2012 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

What makes it worth watching, even compelling, is Miriam Hopkins's performance.

September 29, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Story of Temple Drake

Provocative and racy this hard to find film is loaded with infamy. If you started watching not knowing it was a pre-code it would only take a few minutes to realized it. Full of a wantonness and sense of depravity that wouldn"t be seen in movies for decades after this sinfest features rape, murder and many other shocking events with a frank candor. Many of the cast are rather ham handed in their portrayals, William Gargan in particular, but Miriam Hopkins lights up the screen with a vibrant sensuality and a compelling presence. A truly talented actress it's a shame that behind the scenes she was such a difficult and brazen upstager that it irrevocably damaged her career and shortened her star period.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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