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The life of Sadie McKee takes many twists and turns. She starts as the daughter of the cook for the well off Alderson family. Lawyer Michael Alderson likes Sadie but she runs off to New York City with boyfriend Tommy to get married. Before they get married, Tommy takes up with show girl Dolly and deserts her. Sadie stays in New York and becomes involved with Michael's boss, millionaire Brennan. She marries the chronically alcoholic Brennan for his money. Michael views her as a golddigger at first, but then sees her help Brennan beat his alcoholism. Sadie leaves Brennan to try and find Tommy when she hears that her old flame is in trouble. Little does she know just how much trouble. Written by
Gary Jackson <email@example.com>
Well-made Clarence Brown pre-Code soaper with Joan Crawford (Brown directs Joan 5 times) costumed by Adrian (he does this a total of 28 times) and photographed by Oliver T. Marsh (he did a total of 15 films with Joan). First class production crew yields a first class film.
Joan plays a `shopgirl' character that could have had no heart (Barbara Stanwyck would have excelled at such an interpretation) but the writers gave her an innate goodness that warms Sadie McKee to her audience. Edward Arnold stands out as the drunken millionaire that must have served as a role model for Dudley Moore years later in `Arthur.' His sock in the jaw to Joan is unexpected and looks very real. Gene Raymond does well as the love interest and if that was he singing he did it well. His final scene is very good and somewhat unusual. Franchot Tone does not appear to have had the opportunity to develop his character sufficiently to make him more effective. It must have been good enough, because he got Joan after the film was completed. A somewhat zaftig Esther Ralston still manages to demonstrate why she was `The American Venus' and why Raymond spent so much of his time smiling. Why her character does not react to Raymond singing a love song to Joan in the Apollo Theater is beyond me. Leo G. Carroll does a superb job as the butler his distain for the lower class Joan is great.
Joan's character has many choices in this film and she generally comes out ahead with some short deviations into taking what she can get when she can get it. She gives great looks at Arnold when she realizes she must be his lover now that they are married and later to her friend when she exclaims, `So I've got everything, huh?' and while reflecting what she has done after throwing Tone out of her house. Arnold also has choices and responds well to the outcome of the marriage. Although the two policemen in the film do not take the `tip' offered by Joan, they run out after the taxicab man who gets their share presumably to get their cut out outside the presence of Joan.
This is excellent movie making and a must see for Joan Crawford fans (or anyone else that wants to see a good movie). Highly recommended.
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