[Note: The following review is of a non-Peary title; click here to read more.]
“Sadie Thompson, you are an evil woman!”
A fun-loving woman (Gloria Swanson) fleeing from San Francisco arrives in Pago-Pago, where a judgmental missionary (Lionel Barrymore) tries to convince her to repent her sins, and a handsome soldier (Raoul Walsh) tempts her with the prospect of a new life in Australia.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Gloria Swanson Films
- Lionel Barrymore Films
- Literature Adaptation
- Morality Police
- Prostitutes and Gigolos
- Raoul Walsh Films
- Silent Films
- South Sea Islands
W. Somerset Maugham’s short story “Rain” was adapted for the screen three times — most famously in 1932 with Joan Crawford, and later as Miss Sadie Thompson (1953) with Rita Hayworth. However, this early silent version — directed by and co-starring Raoul Walsh — remains worth a look on its own merits, both as an atmospheric adaptation of the story, and for Swanson’s iconic performance as Sadie. As I noted in my review of Cecil B. DeMille’s Male and Female (1919), Peary only includes three Gloria Swanson titles in his GFTFF, none of which portray her at her silent-era best — this title, I think, fits that bill. Given that Peary nominates both Swanson and Barrymore (nicely epitomizing moral hypocrisy) in his Alternate Oscars, it seems especially suitable to include here as a “missing must-see” title; however, be forewarned that its final reel is missing. Check out Wikipedia’s article to read more about the film’s troubled birth and production history.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Gloria Swanson as Sadie (nominated by both Peary and the official Academy as Best Actress of the Year)
- Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Davidson
- Fine cinematography
Yes, simply to see Swanson’s Oscar-nominated performance, and for its general historical interest.
- Noteworthy Performance(s)
- Oscar Winner or Nominee