Review: ‘Sadie Thompson’

Program credits make no reference to Rain the play, the picture having been adapted from the 'original story' by W. Somerset Maugham. However, the presentation conveys the idea of Rain by a stereoptican downpour effect prior to and through the opening titles.

Program credits make no reference to Rain the play, the picture having been adapted from the ‘original story’ by W. Somerset Maugham. However, the presentation conveys the idea of Rain by a stereoptican downpour effect prior to and through the opening titles.

The scene in which Hamilton enters Sadie’s room during the night is not more than barely hinted at, finishing with Lionel Barrymore standing at the door. For a few previous feet is shown his mental struggle to overcome Sadie’s physical attraction for him, but nothing more than a faltering hand reaching out to stroke her hair is flashed.

Sadie’s costume, her struggle to articulate above and over a wad of rum and her familiarity with the Marines is sufficient to establish her character at the beginning. But there’s likely to be a wide difference of opinion on Gloria Swanson’s interpretation of the role.

Barrymore’s performanceis okay and Raoul Walsh, assuming the double duties of actor and director, does well by both. He plays O’Hara with whom Sadie eventually sails away. Charles Lane makes a minor bit count, and Blanche Friderici rises to her occasion late in the running.

1927/8: Nominations: Best Actress (Gloria Swanson), Cinematography

Sadie Thompson

Production

United Artists. Director Raoul Walsh; Screenplay Raoul Walsh, C. Gardner Sullivan; Camera Oliver Marsh, George Barnes, Robert Kurrle; Editor C. Gardner Sullivan; Art Director William Cameron Menzies

Crew

Silent. (B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1928. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Lionel Barrymore Gloria Swanson Blanche Friderici Raoul Walsh Charles Lane Florence Midgley
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