Sanctuary (1961)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Crime Drama  |   Release Date - Apr 18, 1961 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Devotees of William Faulkner will take exception to Sanctuary, but those who adore steamy Southern melodramas and/or the extremely talented Lee Remick will find plenty to enjoy. While the screenplay keeps a fair amount of the plots from two Faulkner novels, it omits a great deal of their psychological complexity. As a result, characters whose actions make a great deal of sense and who seem to have a natural inevitability to them come off as a bit unmotivated and/or stiff at times, and as something of enigmas at others. Fortunately, Remick is on hand to help make up for this shortcoming, using her considerable skills to imbue Temple Drake with an inner life that makes the audience accept everything she does; we may not totally understand why she behaves the way she does, but Remick makes us believe that it is natural for her to make the choices she does. Yves Montand and Bradford Dillman are somewhat less successful, although Montand's innate sensuality goes a long way to filling in some of his blanks; much better is Odette, whose Nancy is solid and strong. Tony Richardson directs at a somewhat leisurely pace at times, but it somehow suits the material, and there's some very atmospheric camerawork from Ellsworth Fredericks. Sanctuary is certainly flawed and occasionally lurid, but it's also gripping and often exciting.