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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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A young Russian girl is forced into a life of prostitution in Czarist Russia, and she and a British journalist find their lives endangered when she reveals to him information regarding the ... See full summary »

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Elissa Landi, Lionel Barrymore, Laurence Olivier
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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:

Sadie could storm any barrack she attacked! Magnetism had never been heard of until she hit town! What a woman! You'll say so, too! 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

Production Co:

Gloria Swanson Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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: Ever hear the one about the farmer's daughter?
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Referenced in Sunset Blvd. (1950) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Better than the sound versions I have seen.
18 September 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Unfortunately, the final reel of "Sadie Thompson" has been partially lost due to the ravages of time on nitrate stock. Because of this, the final portion often uses stills to fill in the blanks. It's a less than desirable way to do the film, but there simply is no other choice unless a final reel is one day discovered and the film is pieced back together. In addition, some other portions of the film are pretty rough, but not so much that it seriously impacts watching the film.

I have already seen this story two other times, though this is the first time I've seen the silent version. While it's obvious that Gloria Swanson plays a prostitute (Sadie Thompson), like other films of the day, it's strongly implied but they never called her that or said exactly what she was--just that she was a woman of 'ill-repute' or was 'undesirable'. But, unless you are really, really young or really, really naive, it's very clear what the film is implying in this adaptation of the W. Somerset Maugham story.

The story begins with Sadie arriving on the island of Pago-Pago. On board the ship are also some moralistic reformers, the Davidsons (Lionel Barrymore and Blanche Friderici). Unfortunately for Sadie, these reformers seem to spend almost every waking moment worrying about Sadie's sex life and work hard to have her thrown off the island. At first, Sadie is contemptuous of them but later when it looks like they are about to become successful, things change very quickly. Where all this ends up you'll need to see for yourself.

I liked the acting of this film--especially Swanson's. It was rather bawdy yet very restrained (except for when it called for lots of emotion near the end)--and it easily could have been over the top. Also, although the film's in rough shape, what you do see is quite good--with a good reproduction of the tropical locale and nice camera-work. All in all, a very high quality film from start to finish. Too bad about the missing footage.

By the way, Sadie's ruggedly handsome love interest, Sgt. O'Hara, is played by the film's director, Raoul Walsh! He actually gave up acting for directing full-time after he lost an eye in an accident--shortly after completing this film.


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