For residents on the idyllic South Seas island of Pago Pago, life is simple until a boat arrives carrying two couples, the Davidsons (who are missionaries), the MacPhails and a prostitute named Sadie Thompson. Davidson is more than just a religious zealot; he's a mad man. When the boat, which was en route to another port, is temporarily stranded on the island due to a possible Cholera outbreak on-board, Sadie spends her time "partying" with the American soldiers stationed on the island. Her behavior, however, is more than the Davidsons can stand and soon Mr. Davidson confronts Sadie about her evil ways and offers salvation. When Sadie rebels and the attempted redemption does not go as planned, Davidson arranges to have her sent back to San Francisco, where she fled some years ago due to mysterious personal issues. Davidson soon becomes unhinged and thus begins a series of surprising events which culminate in disaster.Written by
I'm fully aware that there has been a total of three film versions of
the play, "Miss. Sadie Thompson" by the late John Colton. I've
haven't seen the original silent film version from 1928 with the first sex symbol of the 20th Century, the late Gloria Swanson; nor the third film version with the late Rita Hayworth. However, if I never get to see neither the first nor second film versions of John Colton's play, the second and first talking film version of Mr. Colton's play is sufficient enough. This film should had received Oscar consideration from the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I'd just seen this film during the late night/early morning hours of
Sunday, January 26th on public television station, WLIW - TV, Channel 21, the second oldest public television station in the United States. "Rain" had Oscar written all over it from start to finish! The film score; the cinematography; fine supporting actor performances both
from WILLIAM GARDAN as US Marine Sgt. O'Hara, and GUY KIBBEE, whom
I've seen in many character roles in classic American films from Hollywood's past, as the innkeeper, Joe Horn; a well written screen adaptation by Maxwell Anderson of John Colton's play; visually directed well by Best Director of 1930 Oscar Winner, the late Lewis Milestone ("All Quiet On The Western Front"), who truely deserved another Best Director Oscar consideration; this film was highly acted well with characters whom you could both believe and relate to, and therefore, a Best Picture Oscar certainly should had been possibly considered; but the best part of this film must be given credit to two acting Oscar winners. Angelica Houston's paternal grandfather, and the late John Houston's father: Oscar winner, the late, great Walter Houston. He was the third of Hollywood's dynasty of actors in the family business. As religious reformer, Alfred Davidson, he was both a hypocrite and a bastard who overstepped his bounds in his persistence by both harassing Sadie Thompson and not minding his own business. If there existed someone like Alfred Davidson, he would be dead by now! He had not only the nerve to dictate to Sadie against her will by judging her when he never met her previously in the first place, but had the audacity to take it upon himself to dictate to the Governor of Pago Pago Island just exactly what his legal authority concerning Sadie Thompson should and should not be, although no such scenes displaying Davidson and the Pago Pago Island Governor were never shown in the film in the first place. I know that Walter Houston is both a Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner, and a Best Actor Oscar nominee; but
he should had received a 1932 Best Actor Oscar nomination for this role. He was incredibly believable. He was so real, and so brilliant. However, the most standout of the entire cast was, without question, the late, great, Joan Crawford, who died the same year when we lost Charlie Chaplin, Bing Crosby, Groucho Marx, Freddie Prinze(WHAT A WASTE!), and of course, Elvis. She may had won a Best Actress of 1945 Oscar for "Mildred Pierce"(Warner Bros.), but this was her BEST ACTING PERFORMANCE, period! I don't remember which
actress was awarded the Best Actress of 1932 Oscar at the 1933 Academy Awards for the film releases of January through late
December, 1932, but she should had both been nominated by the Academy and she should had won! She was so believable as Sadie Thompson.
You could really relate to her when she felt trapped without knowing neither what to do nor where to go. There was one thing about Joan Crawford that was apparent about her acting in most of her films during her prime: regarding her behavior, she never bit her tongue when she had something to say! If she either liked you or not, if she liked or disliked what you did concerning herself, she would let you know! With Joan Crawford, WHAT YOU SAW ABOUT HER WAS WHAT YOU GOT! In closing, I think that it's not only crucial for the American and British films of the past to be preserved for future generations of film audiences, actors, actress, film makers, and
film critics; but it's also important for audiences, especially young people in their teens and twentys to WATCH THE FILMS OF THE PAST. These actors, actress, and film makers who made their mark must never be forgotten. If young people simply choose to watch the films of the present, then they will be missing out on a whole lot. The American film industry, via each of the major studios, no longer
releases a film each and every week. Between the 1920's and 1970's, major films, which have become classics, were released weekly. Today, some of the films that are currently released today are great, and the others are not worth paying eight to ten dollars for!
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