Sadie Thompson - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sadie Thompson Reviews

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September 9, 2017
Sadie Thompson is less memorable in the third and first act, but the second one was phenomenal with superb dialogue, many great dramatic moments and some quite emotional scenes. But the Oscar nominated cinematography and Gloria Swanson are the highlights as the film looks great and she gave such a fantastic performance that is probably her career best one.
Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
½ April 1, 2017
Religious hypocrisy is the main theme of 'Sadie Thompson', based on a short story by W. Somerset Maugham. Sharing the same hotel in Pago Pago, a religious reformer (Lionel Barrymore) takes a dim view of a 'loose' woman (Gloria Swanson), and after failing to get her to change her ways, lobbies the local governor to get her shipped back to San Francisco.

I liked this version a bit better than the 1932 version with Walter Huston and Joan Crawford because Barrymore is so brilliant, so harshly upright but at the same time, hinting at a demonic side as he glowers away. Despite the movie being silent, director Raoul Walsh (who also plays Swanson's love interest) delivers a couple of compelling scenes with Barrymore trying to exert his will, Swanson resisting, and the rain coming down, unrelenting. Swanson also lets loose with her anger, and in one funny moment it's obvious she's cursed a blue streak, as the ladies around her cover their ears and scamper off. 1928 was the first year for the Oscars and Swanson would be nominated for her performance. I admire her for it, but admire her more for producing the movie despite pressure because of its content, and considered a slightly higher rating.

The film itself is not in that great a shape, and while the last couple of minutes are mostly gone forever, we're fortunate that Dennis Doros restored it as best possible mostly with carefully selected stills. Watching this one has you clearly thinking you're getting a window into the past, but at the same time, aren't these themes of religious overreach still so prevalent today? Thank you Gloria Swanson.
½ December 14, 2014
hands down to Lionel Barrymore :)
½ November 7, 2014
good version of this tale
May 14, 2014
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
Super Reviewer
March 6, 2014
The version that I saw was crackling with wear and took me out of the film a bit I'm afraid. Gloria Swanson who is so terrific in Sunset Boulevard doesn't quite measure up here.
April 27, 2013
A rip roaring sensual film about a pacific island prostitute's run in with a religious hypocrite and the tension between just rises & rises.

Roual Walsh played the genuine love interest of Sadie & was also the director of the film. It has beautiful camera work & gorgeous lighting. Gloria Swanson was sensational as Sadie Thompson she was charismatic & was capable of all the emotional depths she needed.

Quite a tragic film that's quite ground breaking for its time & it's quite compelling to watch.
Super Reviewer
½ January 25, 2013
the first adaptation of maugham's famous story, the film stars gloria swanson and director raoul walsh as well as an over the top lionel barrymore as the self appointed moral authority of the islands. swanson was nominated for an oscar here and walsh is terrific as the marine who falls for her. great screen presence! his acting career ended shortly after this when he lost an eye to a fateful jackrabbit through the windshield encounter and became the first of hollywood's dashing eye-patch wearing directors
½ July 23, 2011
Swanson's brash, independent woman is too sinful for Lionel Barrymore's reformer in this adaptation of a Maugham tale. Both of the leads give wonderful performances, getting past what could have been one-note roles. The ending, in part because the reconstruction can't do it justice, and in part because what's there feels rushed, is unsatisfying.
½ March 6, 2010
This is hardly some kind of masterpiece that needed to be saved in order for us to discover some landmark that we had missed. But it's quite competent for the time.
October 25, 2008
Even though the last five minutes are lost, Sadie Thompson is a fun little silent film that you might find yourself enjoying, if only for the delightful performances, especially from Swanson and Barrymore.
Check it out!
August 18, 2008
not bad for a silent
½ July 28, 2008
Excellent example of story-telling. Even with the critical ending being lost and recreated from stills, the movie had me thoroughly engrossed right to the end.
½ July 22, 2008
After seeing Sunset Boulevard a while back and being thoroughly impressed by Gloria Swanson I wanted to see some more of her work. She was most famous for her silent pictures and this was the silent picture for which she received the best actress nomination.

The film stars Gloria Swanson who plays a woman named Sadie Thompson. Sadie Thompson was from San Francisco (probably a prostitute in San Francisco) and takes a ship to Pago Pago to try and start a new life. There, she meets an over-zealous missionary (played by Lionel Barrymore - the great uncle of Drew Barrymore) who tries to get her to repent for her sins. She meets a man who wants to take her to Australia, but the missionary wants no part of that. The plot isn't really all that complex and takes place in pretty much once location. My main complaint with the plot is that Thompson's attitude seems to flip-flop several times with little explanation during the end of the film but other than that the plot is good.

This film is the first silent film I've seen where I really noticed the acting in any meaningful way. While Swanson did not impress me in this film nearly as much as the talking picture Sunset Boulevard, this performance was still quite memorable. Swanson made me care about Sadie Thompson. Lionel Barrymore's performance as the missionary was also quite good. As the film progressed I hated him.

Unfortunately, the final reel of this film is considered lost so the dramatic conclusion is not presented in video but rather still photographs from the missing scenes and excessive intertitles. While not completely distracting, it is quite unfortunate as it made the ending a little less dramatic than it should have been. Only a very small percentage of silent films exist in any form today so it is quite fortunate that this film, or at least the vast majority of it, still exists.

Overall, this was a pretty good film although it was far short of the nearly perfect Sunset Boulevard. Swanson's performance was the most memorable bit of silent acting I've ever seen. For those that have seen and liked Sunset Boulevard and are not afraid of silent films, this is probably worth checking out. Most people won't even consider watching silent films so I would only recommend this to those that do as this is not the best silent film to make your first.


UP NEXT: Back to talking pictures with Alfred Hitchcock's I Confess.
July 19, 2007
I do believe that Gloria Swanson was the most beautiful, bad ass woman to ever grace the screen...
June 21, 2007
This is an excellent story, and this is the best film version. It's pretty much the role Gloria Swanson was born to play.
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