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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I'm a big fan of the Crawford oeuvre, in all its permutations and occasional excesses. That said, her Sadie is refreshingly underplayed and sincere. The mid-Atlantic accent that she tended to is at a minimum here, and there is a fluidity that is in much contrast to the Greek tragic masks, riveting though they are, of some of her later performances. The wonderful Jean Dixon is on hand in a role that is a precursor to Eve Arden's pal of "Mildred Pierce" and "Goodbye My Fancy"--worldly, rueful, self-denigrating. (Mary Phillips took on a similar part in "The Bride Wore Red" several years later.) Esther Ralston does a fine job as the blowsy, sensuous man-stealer--at one point she practically does a Mae West with her intonations and stance. Solid performances also from Franchot Tone and Gene Raymond and the always-reliable, under-appreciated Edward Arnold. The very engaging Earl Oxford appears as "the Stooge" and one wonders why this charmer did not have a film career.
The story is serviceable, and there is a motif of characters' taking responsibility for their lives, and, as best they can, making amends for wrongs. Note that at the start and end of the film there are scenes in which the camera follows a character from one room to the next in such a way that you realize that there is not any real partition between the two rooms--an enjoyable little breaking of the "fourth wall" premise of theater.
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