On December 3, 2019, the Criterion Collection releases The Story of Temple Drake on Blu-ray. Stephen Roberts directed the film starring Miriam Hopkins, William Gargan, and Jack La Rue.
‘The Story of Temple Drake’ Criterion Summary
Loosely adapted from William Faulkner’s controversial novel Sanctuary, this notorious pre-Code melodrama stars Miriam Hopkins as Temple Drake, the coquettish granddaughter of a respected small-town judge. When a boozehound date strands her at a bootleggers’ hideout, Temple is subjected to an act of nightmarish sexual violence and plunged into a criminal underworld that threatens to swallow her up completely. Steeped in southern-gothic shadows by influential cinematographer Karl Struss and shot through with moral ambiguity, The Story of Temple Drake is a harrowing vision of sin and salvation that boasts an astonishing lead performance from the fiery Hopkins, whose passage through the stations of terror, trauma, and redemption is a true tour de force of screen acting.
- High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- New program featuring a conversation between cinematographer John Bailey and Matt Severson, director of the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, about the film’s visual style, as well as archival materials relating to its production
- New program featuring critic Imogen Sara Smith on the complexity of the film and its central performance by Miriam Hopkins
- New interview with critic Mick LaSalle about the film, censorship, and the Production Code
- PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien
Cover based on an original poster