20 Pages Posted: 15 May 2010
Date Written: 2008
Two of the several films based on William Faulkner's writings - “Intruder in the Dust” and “Tomorrow” - are sensitive adaptations that are permeated with themes regarding the nature of justice, the role of the attorney, and the place of law and lawlessness in society. In many ways, a careful study of each of these two films (and of the novel and story upon which they are based) reveals that William Faulkner holds a place as an important American legal commentator. No writer (before or since Faulkner) captures so vividly and so truly the moral predicament of an American South that pursued official racism as it continued to suffer from (indeed found glory in) its failed crusade of rebellion, and the profound nobility of seemingly ordinary individuals whose endurance, pride, and simple humanity take on mythic proportions. The film adaptations of the novel Intruder in the Dust and the short story “Tomorrow” transmit these crucial aspects of Faulkner’s written words to the screen, while challenging some basic beliefs regarding our legal system.
Keywords: Faulkner, law and literature, law and film, racism
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Wolf, Michael Allan, William Faulkner, Legal Commentator: Humanity and Endurance in Hollywood's Yoknapatawpha (2008). Mississippi Law Journal, Vol. 77, pp. 957-76, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1607873