Among the many enduring virtues of The Story of Temple Drake—a pre-Code William Faulkner adaptation whose sensational depiction of a hopelessly fallen world, rife with sexual violence and other forms of malice, scandalized audiences upon its release in 1933—is its expressive visual style. Directed by Stephen Roberts and shot by the influential Karl Struss, the film tells its harrowing southern-gothic story through a series of haunting images, from close-ups of searing intensity to dark compositions almost completely enshrouded by shadows. The movie’s highly distinctive look comes under close examination in one of the supplements on our new release of Temple Drake, a conversation between acclaimed cinematographer John Bailey and Matt Severson, director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library. In the above clip from the program, Bailey and Severson sift through some of the library’s archival materials relating to Temple Drake’s production, as Bailey admires one particular sequence from the film in which Struss’s powerful, innovative lighting—which often defied conventions of the time—serves to enhance the waking-nightmare quality of the drama. Watch to the end for Bailey’s explanation of how Struss pulled off a shot illuminated only by one man’s cigarette.
A Subtler Side of the Hepburn-Grant Magic
Filmmaker and distributor Michael Schlesinger and critic Michael Sragow dive into the pleasures of Holiday, a romantic-comedy classic that has long stood in the shadow of The Philadelphia Story but has a poignancy all its own.
Wim Wenders Looks Back on the Digital Future He Predicted
From search engines to all-engrossing handheld devices, the technologies that the German director conjured for his 1991 opus Until the End of the World are now common features of contemporary life.
All About Mankiewicz
One of the most celebrated Hollywood writer-directors of his time, Joseph L. Mankiewicz offers a window into the way he sees his characters in this illuminating clip from an archival interview.
Charisma to Burn: Béatrice Dalle’s Incandescent Debut in Betty Blue
The young French actor didn’t require much direction for her first screen role. As the film’s director and cinematographer recall, she quickly proved herself to be a born star.