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Rain (1932)

Passed | | Drama | 12 October 1932 (USA)
A prostitute newly arrived in the South Pacific finds herself at odds with a stern missionary determined to save her soul.

Director:

Lewis Milestone (uncredited)

Writers:

John Colton (play), Clemence Randolph (play) (as C. Randolph) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Joan Crawford ... Sadie Thompson
Walter Huston ... Alfred Davidson
Fred Howard Fred Howard ... Hodgson (as Frederic Howard)
Ben Hendricks Jr. Ben Hendricks Jr. ... Griggs (as Ben Hendricks)
William Gargan ... Sergeant O'Hara
Mary Shaw Mary Shaw ... Ameena
Guy Kibbee ... Joe Horn
Kendall Lee Kendall Lee ... Mrs. Macphail
Beulah Bondi ... Mrs. Davidson
Matt Moore ... Dr. Macphail
Walter Catlett ... Quartermaster Bates
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Storyline

For residents on the idyllic South Seas island of Pago Pago, life is simple until a boat arrives carrying two couples, the Davidsons (who are missionaries), the MacPhails and a prostitute named Sadie Thompson. Davidson is more than just a religious zealot; he's a mad man. When the boat, which was en route to another port, is temporarily stranded on the island due to a possible Cholera outbreak on-board, Sadie spends her time "partying" with the American soldiers stationed on the island. Her behavior, however, is more than the Davidsons can stand and soon Mr. Davidson confronts Sadie about her evil ways and offers salvation. When Sadie rebels and the attempted redemption does not go as planned, Davidson arranges to have her sent back to San Francisco, where she fled some years ago due to mysterious personal issues. Davidson soon becomes unhinged and thus begins a series of surprising events which culminate in disaster. Written by Eva1-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A woman without shame. A woman without soul.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 October 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Regn See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Feature Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) | (1938 Atlantic Reissue)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Wide Range Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Joan Crawford is listed above the title and Walter Huston in a frame after the title, the comprehensive cast list later is listed in order of appearance, with Huston listed ninth and Crawford last. See more »

Goofs

Camera's shadow falls across the backs of the missionaries as they sit around the table in the general store. See more »

Quotes

Sadie Thompson: Oh, no Mr. Davidson. Your God and me could never be shipmates. And the next time you talk to him you can tell him this for me, that Sadie Thompson is on her way to Hell!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Chris & Don. A Love Story (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

St. Louis Blues
(1914) (uncredited)
Written by W.C. Handy
Played during the opening credits and often in the score
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Story great, acting great, filmmaking better
17 March 1999 | by telenySee all my reviews

This story, by Somerset Maugham, has been filmed many times in the last seventy-odd years, but this is the first. I cannot say that it is the best of all possible adaptations; a tacked-on sub-plot (involving a romance with an amorous quartermaster) helps the exposition but dilutes the icy cynicism of the basic story, the missionary and his wife are clumsy caricatures of hellfire and brimstone puritanism, while Joan Crawford's "low-class" accent is more irritating than it is believable -- one is relieved when she forgets to use it. Yet it shines.

The story is told only partially through the script, which seems less wordy than most early talkies: many important points are made purely visually, from the overflowing rainbarrel in the opening sequence to the high-heeled shoe that signals Sadie's return to her prior way of life. The camera *moves*: around tables, in and around groups of people, in and out of doors with incredible smoothness. Crawford's face is also a focus: from her initial "good-time gal" flirting with the sailors to the incredible sequence where she (apparently) converts, she leers, pouts, weeps, and more importantly, knows when to stop, in the three scenes she appears (seemingly) without makeup.

When Rev. Davidson soothes her in her extremis by telling her in a hypnotic voice (backed by native drums) that she is now "radiant, beautiful, one of the daughters of the King" (a moment of sheer unearthly poetry that verges on psychosis), we believe him -- and her. We also believe Huston's face a moment later, as he prays alone, grimaces unreadably, and suddenly resolves into a look of predatory lust just before slipping into her room, the drums implacably beating in the background.

Small excellences abound: the natives are portrayed sympathetically, and for the time, fairly accurately-- I especially liked the use of Polynesian music, which, along with the Sadie's hot jazz records, emphasises the sensual nature of life in the tropics. The subject of her profession is handled tastefully, but frankly and with humor: in referring to a friend's marriage to a sister fille de joie, the quartermaster remarks that they initally met "illegally" and goes on to say that since they met seeing each other at their worst, they can appreciate seeing each other at their best. A running counterpoint is provided by Dr. McPhail, a more-or-less neutral bystander, and Mr. Horne, the genial (and generally supinely drunk) innkeeper, who fusses, chortles, philosophizes, and gets most of the movie's best lines.

Perhaps the best of these occurs sometime after Sadie's conversion: lolling indolently, he reads from a small book something that sounds incredibly like Ecclesiates-- for a moment, we nearly believe that Davidson has converted him, too. Then, finishing the passage, he intones, "Thus spoke Zarathustra.... Good old Nietzche!"

Sixty-five years later, watching the film on a postage-stamp-sized screen of Real Video, I nearly fell out of my chair.


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