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Sadie Thompson

15 customer reviews

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$21.48 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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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.

Special Features

None.

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.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: February 20, 2001
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056N7V
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,076 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sadie Thompson" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Simon Davis on November 27, 2005
Format: DVD
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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Leealike on 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 By Barbara Underwood on 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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Format: DVD
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 short stories, of which the 1921 "Miss Thompson" is easily the most famous. The original story was soon adapted for the stage under the title RAIN--and it was a tremendous success. The play has been performed countless times and continues to be revived on a consistent basis; there have also been three major screen adaptations.

The best of these is the 1928 silent film SADIE THOMPSON starring Gloria Swanson (1897-1983.) Swanson was perhaps the first Hollywood "Diva," an actress as controversial as she was popular. By the late 1920s her liaison with the infamous Joe Kennedy (father of John, Robert, and Ted) gave her the clout to become her own producer, and with Kennedy money behind her she selected the Maugham story and cast herself in the title role.

It was an inspired choice. Swanson had somewhat hard features and tremendous attitude, and many consider that this is her best overall performance. The story concerns the collision of a brash prostitute (Swanson) and a holier-than-thou minister (Lionel Barrymore) who find themselves trapped by quarantine and monsoon rains in a rundown hotel on Pago-Pago. Needless to say, the sparks fly--especially when Davidson pressures the island govenor to deport Sadie as soon as possible. But it gradually transpires that Davidson may have more than one reason for wanting Sadie gone: it may be that he finds her a temptation himself.

SADIE THOMPSON would be Swanson's last great success in the silent era--the later QUEEN KELLY was never finished or widely released.
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