The Sound and the Fury (1959 film)

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The Sound and the Fury
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Martin Ritt
Written by Harriet Frank, Jr.
Irving Ravetch
Based on The Sound and the Fury
by William Faulkner
Starring Yul Brynner
Joanne Woodward
Margaret Leighton
Stuart Whitman
Ethel Waters
Jack Warden
Françoise Rosay
Music by Alex North
Cinematography Charles G. Clarke
Edited by Stuart Gilmore
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • April 6, 1959 (1959-04-06)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,710,000[1]
Box office $1.7 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)[2]

The Sound and the Fury is a 1959 American film directed by Martin Ritt. It is loosely based on the novel of the same name by William Faulkner, first published in 1929.


Quentin Compson is a girl of 17 in the small Mississippi town of Jefferson. She lives with her step-uncle, Jason, who has practically raised Quentin ever since her promiscuous mother, Caddy, abandoned her.

Jason makes ends meet working in the store of Earl Snopes, a man he detests. He is the provider for several people in the house, including Howard, who is Quentin's uncle, and his step-brother, and a mute, mentally handicapped man named Benjy, his other step-brother.

Quentin is bored, restless, and not interested in Jason's wishes that she continue her education. When a carnival comes to town, she becomes infatuated with Charlie Busch, a carny worker who tries to seduce her.

Caddy returns to town. She has a tentative reunion with Quentin, but takes Jason's side because she has no money and needs him to shelter her now. Caddy flirts with Snopes, who implies that they had intimate relations and is beaten by Jason for saying as much. Benjy also becomes incensed when he catches Quentin sneaking out to meet Busch and tries to strangle her, whereupon Jason decides that Benjy must be committed to an institution.

A frustrated Quentin wants to leave with Busch and claims she can get her hands on $3,000. She steals it from a suitcase of money Jason had been saving for her future. To prove the stranger's true intentions, Jason goes to Busch and gives him a choice: the girl or the money. Quentin is crushed when she realizes what Busch is really after. She returns to Jason and promises to be more mature in their future together.



Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote that the film "lacks texture" and is "sentiment-dappled and synthetic".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p252
  2. ^ "1959: Probable Domestic Take", Variety, 6 January 1960 p 34
  3. ^ Crowther, Bosley (28 March 1959). "The Sound and the Fury (1959)". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 

External links[edit]