7.9/10
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Sadie Thompson (1928)

Unrated | | Drama | 7 January 1928 (USA)
A prostitute seeking a fresh start becomes the obsession of a religious extremist.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

W. Somerset Maugham (story), Raoul Walsh (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lionel Barrymore ... Alfred Davidson
Blanche Friderici ... Mrs. Alfred Davidson
Charles Lane Charles Lane ... Dr. Angus McPhail
Florence Midgley Florence Midgley ... Mrs. Angus McPhail
James A. Marcus ... Joe Horn, the trader
Sofia Ortega Sofia Ortega ... Ameena
Will Stanton ... Quartermaster Bates
Raoul Walsh ... Sergeant Timothy 'Tim' O'Hara
Gloria Swanson ... Sadie Thompson
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Storyline

Sadie Thompson arrives in Pago-Pago to start a new life, but when extremist missionary Davidson lashes out against her lifestyle and tries to force her back to San Francisco, she may lose her second chance. Written by Mike Myers <mmyers@ucsd.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Piercing drama on an isle in the tropic South Seas! The star of stars in the picture of pictures! Gloria Swanson, glorious exponent of emotion, in the finest film of her career! "Sadie's" the lady you'll never forget! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

7 January 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La frágil voluntad See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(reconstructed) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sadie lands in Pago Pago, which is in the Samoan Islands, about 2,600 miles from Honolulu and about 2,700 from Sydney. See more »

Quotes

Sadie Thompson: It's the only way, Handsome. I'm - I'm different, now...
Sergeant Timothy 'Tim' O'Hara: No, Sadie! This old hyena's got you so hypnotized it's like you're doped!
See more »

Alternate Versions

A restored version substitutes film stills and title cards for the final eight minutes of lost footage. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Gloria Swanson, Movie Star
16 September 2011 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

Gloria Swanson takes hold of the screen and does not for one minute let it go in this adaptation of a W. Somerset Maugham novella about a free-wheeling firecracker (read: prostitute) who comes under the tyranny of a self-appointed reformer (a frightening Lionel Barrymore) in a battle of wills over her salvation. Swanson received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her work in the very first year of Oscar's existence. She lost to Janet Gaynor, who was nominated for a trio of performances that first year, but I'm not so sure she shouldn't have won. Raoul Walsh, tough-guy director of later films like James Cagney's "White Heat" (1949), directed "Sadie Thompson" and stars in the film as Sadie's love interest. The whole thing unfolds in a tropical location during a downpour, and it captures the over-heated exotic atmosphere perfectly.

The film's impact is somewhat blunted because of its missing last moments. The version I saw reconstructed the final 10 minutes or so using still shots and title cards; one can only imagine what the actual footage was like. The film has a rather startling conclusion, not because I don't agree with it but rather because a mere ten years later (after enforcement of the Production Code) and for decades after, it wouldn't have been allowed to end the way it does, with Sadie exposing religion as a hypocritical sham and not changing her own racy tendencies one bit.

Grade: B+


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