"Writing in the October 1937 edition of the magazine Night and Day, Greene considered the performance of the then nine-year-old Temple in Wee Willie Winkie. The novelist argued that, though marketed as an innocent kid, the performer had a 'more secret and more adult appeal' and was, in truth, a 'complete totsy' with a 'well-developed rump'. Although paedophilia was not a term in common use in the 1930s, Greene's meaning is clear when he suggests that, for her male audience, 'the safety curtain of story and dialogue drops between their intelligence and their desire'.
Because we tend to think of moral panic over the sexualisation of children - by advertisers, clothing manufacturers and the music business - as a modern phenomenon, it's shocking to find these sentiments expressed so strongly seven decades ago. In both portrait and article, the rage expressed seems strangely disproportionate to her performances.
We may wonder, given the artists concerned, if there was an element of self-disgust in these descriptions. Apart from being born in the same year, Greene and Dali were both Roman Catholics (the Spaniard by baptism, the Englishman through conversion) who were rather more interested in sex than their religion, family or society allowed. Did they feel, when they contemplated Temple, the stirring of a deviance beyond even their previous dreams?"