Feat. Live Accompaniment from Cliff Retallick!

Somerset Maugham’s highly-acclaimed Sadie Thompson was a box office smash and one of the most controversial films of the era due to its extremely spicy and lurid subject matter. Gloria Swanson is a smoking, drinking, jazz-listening, light-hearted young prostitute from San Francisco who ships off to Pago Pago on the island of Tutuila to start a new life. There she encounters the zealous missionary Reverend Alfred Davidson (Lionel Barrymore) and his wife, who are in town to teach the natives about sin. Davidson sets about to reform Sadie as she falls in love with Sergeant Timothy O’Hara (Raoul Walsh), who isn’t fazed by her past and wants to move with her to Australia. Davidson, meanwhile, becomes perilously obsessed with Sadie as dark secrets are revealed and even darker compulsions overtake Davidson’s righteous facade.

Dir. Raoul Walsh, 1928, 35mm, 97 min.