It turns out to be a mistake to have assigned the Sadie Thompson role to Joan Crawford. The dramatic significance of it all is beyond her range. As for producer-director Lewis Milestone’s shortcomings as an entrepreneur, the outcome is equally to be laid at his doorstep [in this version of the play by John Cotton and C. Randolph from the story by W. Somerset Maugham].
The 92 minutes to achieve the climactic finale, where the salvationist succumbs to the flesh, is too long a period to reach the fairly obvious. It then becomes the burden of the Sadie Thompson, Davidson (Walter Huston) and other characters to sustain matters through their own personal impressions. And it’s all so talky.
Apart from that, Milestone goes in for the impressionistic rain thing too much with camera angles.
Huston must have felt as ridic as were some of his lines when he had to utter them during production.
Joan Crawford’s getup as the light lady is extremely bizarre. Pavement pounders don’t quite trick themselves up as fantastically as all that.