The Story of Temple Drake

You think you know everything about something and inevitably you are proved wrong. I just came across this reading Steven C. Earley’s An Introduction to American Movies.

In 1933, Paramount released a film version of William Faulkner’s novel Sanctuary, a story of perversion and corruption. The picture was titled The Story of Temple Drake (1933), and although Paramount pretended to avoid all sexual abnormalities, civic groups were offended because the director had slanted his film to condone a murder. (54)

Now I don’t know if that is true or not, but it is very interesting. I thought the reason why the movie had come under attack was because of the raping of Temple Drake by the gangster Popeye. Earley’s claim, however, suggests otherwise. If Earley is correct, what adds irony to his assertion is that Faulkner’s publisher initially rejected Sanctuary on the grounds that if he published it, it would get them thrown in jail. Later however, Faulkner’s publisher had a change of mind and decided to go ahead and print the novel as it was. However, Faulkner had a change of mind too – and at his own expensive, decided to do an an extensive revision of the book anyway. The main difference between the two versions besides the fact that Faulkner placed more distance between themes and characters he’d explored previously in other novels, was that he added more violence.