“Best of Criterion’s New Releases, December 2019”

If you want to hear the truth, I felt oddly unprepared to talk about The Story of Temple Drake, which is both,

a) Good; a sign of the movie’s complicated power, and
b) Really bad, because that’s my damn job

There are so many questions here. Is the climax, which completely rewrites the climax of the Faulkner book it’s based on, purely good or well-intended with problematic undertones? Is this a story best told by a woman instead of a man*? Does the movie argue that Temple Drake was “asking for it,” or is it strictly sympathetic to her ordeal?

What I don’t question is the film’s opening and ending shots, which I think go a long way toward allaying my modern day liberal concerns. Good stuff. It may go without saying that I had a much easier time writing about Tunes of Glory**, of course.

Anyways. You can read the full Criterion round-up over at Paste Magazine.


*This being the worst question of the bunch, because the answer is always “not necessarily, because there are very bad filmmakers who are women.”
**It’s also the superior movie, but man, that Ronald Neame, he knew a thing or two about making movies, right?

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