Two American soldiers are captured by the Germans on the Western Front during World War One and escape a POW camp only to stumble into further life-threatening adventures when they come across an Arabian king's daughter while on the lam.
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 <email@example.com>
It's sad that we don't have on film Jeanne Eagels and her performance from Broadway of the classic Rain. I'm told there was something truly special about it. But having said that Gloria Swanson has given us one riveting performance as Sadie Thompson, the girl that gets everyone thinking from below decks in the South Seas.
With the exception of Rita Hayworth's version, I have something nice to say about all the screen Sadies. You've got to be both one sexy dish and an extraordinary actress to pull this role off. In Gloria Swanson and Joan Crawford we've had both.
W. Somerset Maugham long before Tennessee Williams was writing about taboo sexual subjects and people bought his books and saw the plays and movies from them. Rain is the granddaddy of them all. Maugham as a gay man just asks a simple question, why don't people just let people alone to do their thing if it doesn't harm anyone?
That's the attitude in rollicking Marine sergeant Raoul Walsh who is stationed on the tropical south sea paradise that Sadie Thompson finds herself stranded. Walsh who directed also gives us an opportunity to see him before he lost an eye a couple of years later.
Also there is Lionel Barrymore and his wife Blanche Frederici, the Reverend Davidson. One of the most uptight people in literature it's like he's got to destroy the thing he lusts for, but can't have because of convention and the beliefs drummed into him. In a nutshell you have a ton of religious and political figures, closeted gays who are outwardly rightwing homophobes. Maugham knew them well.
So with one look, Barrymore takes a most personal interest in the 'salvation' of Sadie Thompson. But it's all a cover and in the end when his world is exposed it's the end for him.
Rain will be getting productions ad infinitum although they might be underground productions as per the local mores until the end of time. Sadie Thompson got two Oscar nominations in the first Oscar ceremony, one for Gloria Swanson as Best Actress and one for cinematography.
Not a film to be missed.
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