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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.
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Top customer reviews
This is an attempt to restore a wonderful silent movie, but some parts were just ruined and the attempts to fix the ending of the movie with stills is somewhat disappointing. However this is still a good watch. Gloria Swanson was in her heyday and gorgeous and she was splendid as the good-hearted hooker. It's also great to see Lionel Barrymore as the Reformer who could not save himself.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
bOULEVARD IT DISPLAYS ALL T HE greatness of Swanson as a Silent Screen diva.Read more