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Sadie Thompson (1928)

Gloria Swanson , Lionel Barrymore , Raoul Walsh  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gloria Swanson, Lionel Barrymore, Raoul Walsh, James A. Marcus, Blanche Friderici
  • Directors: Raoul Walsh
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Silent
  • Dubbed: Japanese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: February 20, 2001
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056N7V
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,579 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sadie Thompson" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

This first film version of Somerset Maugham's classic story "Miss Thompson" featured the creative talents of Gloria Swanson, Lionel Barrymore, Raoul Walsh, art director William Cameron Menzies and cameramen George Barnes and Oliver Marsh, at the height of their careers. Swanson and Barnes were nominated for Oscars, in the first year of the Academy Awards. Sadie Thompson proved to be a landmark of the silent era. Perhaps, its greatest achievement was the film's uncompromising translation of Maugham's controversial story of a San Francisco prostitute and a South Pacific reformer. Swanson correctly maintained that the film's silence was its greatest asset, for the churches and Hays office could not censor what they couldn't hear. The tragedy of Sadie Thompson is that, for many decades, the last scenes were missing from the sole existing print. In this 1987 restoration by Kino International, the final minutes have been carefully recreated, using the original script, the star's own collection of stills, film footage where appropriate, and an orchestral score commissioned for the completed film. Neglected and forgotten over the years, Sadie Thompson has emerged as an important triumph in the silent era, and Swanson's greatest performance ever.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
For those that only know the legendary Gloria Swanson from her performance in the classic "Sunset Boulevard" in 1950, a viewing of Swanson in her prime in the 1928 silent feature "Sadie Thompson", is essential. This film really goes a long way towards illustrating to viewers unfamiliar with her work the legend that she was during the 1920's when she reigned as one of the silent screen's greatest stars. "Sadie Thompson", came about just as Swanson hit her creative peak and provided her with one of the best acting vehicles in her long career. It was also significant in being her second effort as her own producer at a time when it was rare for a woman to have such control over her own films. Arriving on the screen just as sound was turning the film industry upside down and abruptly ending the careers of many formerly successful foreign stars "Sadie Thompson", is still immensely entertaining today despite the tragedy of the last reel of the film being lost from decomposition during the 1950's. With its final minutes recreated through surviving fragments and still photographs "Sadie Thompson" is a testament to the often underestimated abilities of Gloria Swanson who until this film was restored and released on video and DVD was largely remembered only as the eccentric Norma Desmond from "Sunset Boulevard". While both films are undoubtedly classics "Sadie", reveals Swanson in a character who couldn't be further removed from the reclusive actress she won renewed fame with in Billy Wilder's classic about the down side of Hollywood stardom in the 1950's.

Based on the controversial story titled "Miss Thompson", by W.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tarnished Classic March 10, 2001
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Much like the "restored" version of Swanson's Queen Kelly this release is a mixed blessing. On the one hand it is breath-taking to see the beauty and range Gloria Swanson had - yet, as the last reel of the film is missing it's tragic that the dramatic climax of the film is lost.
That said, the restoration as excellent - the reconstruction of the climax works well, and beyond that Kino have also added the last reel of the 1932 remake RAIN and the shooting script.
This, along with essays and stills, as well as other clips and excerpts makes this a must have DVD for any serious silent film lover.
Sad that Swanson's talent in silent films has been somewhat eclipsed by her - admittedly great - performance as the tragic diva in Sunset Boulevard. This is a rare and welcome chance to see a magnificent star at the height of her powers.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A landmark of silent cinema history December 14, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This DVD is a special treat for serious enthusiasts of classic films because despite its missing end scenes, Kino Video has resurrected this silent film with a reconstructed ending and many bonus features which give ample in-depth and background information about Sadie Thompson. Based on a real-life person, the story of a prostitute clashing with a religious reformer or minister first appeared as a novella by W. Somerset Maugham, then a Broadway stage play before screen legend Gloria Swanson decided to tackle the challenge of playing the controversial character. Her second venture as a producer for United Artists, Swanson chose a highly talented crew to complement her own outstanding performance, which resulted in an energy-charged, entertaining and well-balanced drama with touches of playfulness and subtle humour. Lionel Barrymore is frighteningly convincing in the role of the overly zealous and pragmatic reformer, who was originally a religious minister in the story and play, but due to censorship rules in the 1920s, any reference to a minister or church had to be removed. Gloria Swanson also excels in this role which allowed her more acting expression and depth than her `fashion clothes horse' roles she had become so famous for in the early 1920s. Her mannerisms and even her walk convey the essence of the Sadie Thompson character as she fools around with some US Marines, then challenged by the strict, conservative and judgmental reformer and his wife. When she finally gives in to pressure to atone for her sins, the transformation to a plain and sullen woman is also quite striking. Just as the electrifying tension between Sadie and the reformer culminates, the moving film ends and is replaced by stills which reveal the final twist of the story. Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent film July 21, 2002
By Rachel
"Sadie Thompson" is a brillant film that reflects one of gloria swanson's finest moments. Gloria Swanson portrays a woman of easy virtue, and for that time period, it was a very controversial film. Gloria Swanson's superb acting and clean viewing, for that type of story line, makes this movie a time piece of excellence. There is some strong language seen through her lip movements, but only if you look very closely. Overall it comes across very strongly and passionately. For the drama within you, you can see the story by the bodily movements which makes this type of film a masterpiece. Inspite of the distorted damage to the film from throughout the years, Sadie Thompson was restored enough to please the eye and the added orchestra sound makes this film a pleasure to have. I strongly recommend this film.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
Published 4 months ago by steven rouse
4.0 out of 5 stars Sadie Thompson
The DVD was fine and the movie is a classic. Watching Gloria Swanson and Barrymore together was exciting even if in black and white and non talking.
Published 14 months ago by brenda j helton
4.0 out of 5 stars Skip...
Gloria Swanson was the Sadie Thompson I would have envisioned from W. Somerset Maughn's short novel. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Skip
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Gloria
I love La swanson she was one of the greatist of the silent film stars and watching her early work as a young black male its fun seeing how they made and presented movies in the... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Kelly
4.0 out of 5 stars The Silent Greatness of Gloria Swanson
t-hjough this picture is not the talking Gloria of sUNSET s
bOULEVARD IT DISPLAYS ALL T HE greatness of Swanson as a Silent Screen diva. Read more
Published on July 31, 2011 by Edith F. Hurwitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Somerset, Swanson and Silent
This 1928 silent film is perhaps one of the alltime great films and as much as I love Joan Crawford in "Rain," this version impresses with its fine attention to story. Read more
Published on December 29, 2005 by DonnaReviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Maugham's Famous Story & Swanson's Finest Silent Performance
During his lifetime Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) was best known for such novels as OF HUMAN BONDAGE and such plays as THE CIRCLE; today, however, he is chiefly recalled for his... Read more
Published on March 18, 2005 by Gary F. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent film
"Sadie Thompson" is a brillant film that reflects one of gloria swanson's finest moments. Gloria Swanson portrays a woman of easy virtue, and for that time period, it... Read more
Published on July 21, 2002 by Rachel
5.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing adult silent film
Here is the film that the Catholic church tried to stop - and which was financed by Joseph Kennedy for his then mistress Gloria Swanson. Read more
Published on May 7, 2001 by Ingalls
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