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Sadie Thompson

3 November 2011 3:28 PM, PDT

James Cagney once told me he had worked with eighty directors in his career, “But there’s only five I’d call a real director.” Which was what? “A real director is a guy who, if I don’t know what the hell to do, can get up and show me!” Pioneer Raoul Walsh, with whom Cagney did four memorable pictures, was definitely one of those five. The best example of his acting abilities (most famously he was John Wilkes Booth in D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of A Nation) can be seen in Walsh’s own vigorous adaptation of the classic Somerset Maugham short… »

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Sadie Thompson

3 November 2011 7:28 AM, PDT

James Cagney once told me he had worked with eighty directors in his career, “But there’s only five I’d call a real director.” Which was what? “A real director is a guy who, if I don’t know what the hell to do, can get up and show me!” Pioneer Raoul Walsh, with whom Cagney did four memorable pictures, was definitely one of those five. The best example of his acting abilities (most famously he was John Wilkes Booth in D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of A Nation) can be seen in Walsh’s own vigorous adaptation of the classic Somerset Maugham short story and stage play of South Seas sex and repression, Rain, starring the immortal Gloria Swanson as that notorious lady of easy virtue, Sadie Thompson (available on DVD). The film is another of the glories of 1928, that last extraordinary year of silent pictures, which I »

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