The Story of Temple Drake

The Story of Temple Drake is a 1933 American pre-Code drama film directed by Stephen Roberts and starring Miriam Hopkins and Jack La Rue. It tells the story of Temple Drake, a reckless woman in the American South who falls into the hands of a brutal gangster and rapist. It was adapted from the highly controversial 1931 novel Sanctuary by William Faulkner. Though some of the more salacious elements of the source novel were not included, the film was still considered so indecent that it helped give rise to the strict enforcement of the Hays Code.


Temple Drake, the reckless granddaughter of a prominent judge in a small Mississippi town, refuses to marry her lawyer boyfriend, Stephen Benbow. This earns her a reputation in the town as a seductress. On the night of a town dance, Temple declines Stephen's proposal for a second time, and instead goes out with one of her suitors, Toddy Gowan. Toddy, who has been drinking, crashes their car near a dilapidated plantation home occupied by a speakeasy run by a man named Lee Goodwin. Trigger, a gangster and bootlegger at the speakeasy, forces Temple and Toddy into the house. Toddy, drunk and injured, attempts to fight off another drunk, who has grabbed at Temple, but the drunk knocks him unconscious. Temple tries to flee, but Trigger insists she spend the night. Lee's wife, Ruby, suggests that Temple sleep in the barn, and arranges for a young man named Tommy to stand watch.