Archive for August 7th, 2011

by Allan Fish

(USA 1933 71m) not on DVD

A honey-faced little fool!

p  Sidney Franklin  d  Stephen Roberts  w  Oliver H.P.Garrett  novel  “Sanctuary” by William Faulkner  ph  Karl Struss  ed  uncredited  m  Paul Hajos, Bernhard Kaun, John Leipold  art  Hans Dreier

Miriam Hopkins (Temple Drake), Jack LaRue (Trigger), William Gargan (Stephen Benbow), William Collier, Jnr. (Toddy Gowan), Irving Pichel (Lee Goodwin), Guy Standing (Judge Drake), Elizabeth Patterson (Aunt Jennie), Florence Eldridge (Ruby Lamarr), Jobyna Howard (Miss Reba), James Eagles (Tommy), Hattie McDaniel,

If ever a film personified why the Legion of Decency clampdown came in 1934, look no further than this 1933 pic.  A film that has been enshrined in folklore for as long as it has existed, now seen so rarely and available only in public domain prints so shoddy that many periodicals and film guides don’t even bother to list it (Halliwell and Maltin only, the latter only in his ‘Classic Movie Guide’).  Considering how badly it was remade in 1961 under the original novel’s title, one would think that, in these more liberal, if perhaps equally hypocritically moral, times, people would be open to giving it a second chance, but no.  Still it remains in limbo.

            The first question that comes to mind is why is it such a cause célèbre?  William Faulkner’s book is one of the most widely condemned by the moral majority.  It follows the fortunes of Temple, grand-daughter of an upstanding Southern judge who doesn’t want to settle down with his attorney protégée Stephen Benbow.  Preferring the high-life, she leaves a party one night with a drunken Toddy Gowan.  When his car crashes, she takes refuge at a deserted way station populated by shady bootleggers.  Most suspicious of these is the legendary stone-faced Trigger.  She takes refuge in the barn under the watchful eye of simple, kindly Tommy.  However, Trigger follows her there, kills Tommy and rapes her, abducts her and takes her to town.  Rather than report him to the police, she finds that she likes his rough treatment and stays with him as his live-in floozie.  (more…)

Read Full Post »