Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sadie Thompson (1928)

Sadie Thompson arrives in Pago-Pago on her way to a new life, but extremist missionary Davidson lashes out against her lifestyle. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 Oscars:

Best Actress: Gloria Swanson
Best Cinematography

The film seems to be considered today a great classic from the silent era. That's of course because of Gloria Swanson, and the much-deserved popularity that Sunset Blvd. has nowadays. I'm not gonna say Sadie is not a good film in some ways, and Gloria truly is wonderful to look at, but this is hardly a classic.

The attraction towards the film must come from the 2 leading performances. As I said, Gloria is quite likeable and gives a strong performance (she might've won had it not been for Janet's 3 different films) and just as intriguing is Lionel Barrymore, veteran Hollywood actor, very convincing as the fanatic missionary. Those who've seen it might recall that unforgettable devilish look in his eyes.

While it doesn't really have to do with judging the film, you might know that the last 8 minutes of Sadie Thompson are completely lost, and what they did was to recreate the ending using the screenplay and some production stills. It's a pitty, considering it was the ending above all and Gloria seemed to look smashing in the photos of the final scenes. But putting that aside, the ending itself is disappointing and doesn't live up to the tension created up to that point.

My rating for the film: 6.5/10. It has its good, intense moments, but misses opportunities just as often.

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