Pleasures of the living flesh verses the rantings of fanatical religious preachings are aptly displayed in this screen adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's story Miss Sadie Thompson. Sadie Thompson (Joan Crawford) is a sassy prostitute who lands in Pago Pago in the South Pacific after an epidemic grounds the ship on which she's booked passage. Sadie's good looks, free spirit, and quick wit soon attract the attention of a group of American soldiers stationed on the island; while most are motivated by simple lust, the naive Sgt. O'Hara (William Gargan) falls in love with Sadie, thoroughly unaware of her checkered past and real profession. Rev. Alfred Davidson (Walter Huston father of actor director John Huston), a fire-and-brimstone pompous preacher bent on bringing salvation to the soldiers, is quickly onto Sadie's occupation and ways, and is determined to convince her to change her ways. Sadie slowly but surely is softened by Davidson's conviction, but the preacher soon finds himself all too human and is turned on himself by her sensual presence; O'Hara also learns the truth about Sadie, but hatches his own plan to "reform" her -- marriage. While not a box office hit in 1932, Rain has gone on to become a favorite in years since on video, thanks to Joan Crawford's vivid performance as Sadie and director Lewis Milestone's adventurous visual style. - Cathy Falstaff, Guest Reviewer for the NZ Herald.
• Filmed on Catalina Island off the coast of California.
• This was Joan's first film made on loan-out to a studio other than MGM.
• Other famous "Sadie Thompson"s: Jeanne Eagels (1922, stage); Gloria Swanson (1928 silent film); 1935 (Tallulah Bankhead, stage); Rita Hayworth (1953 film). Carroll Baker appeared in a 1970 TV version.
• Screenwriter Maxwell Anderson also wrote a radio play that Joan appeared in later in the 1930s: "Mary of Scotland" for the Lux Radio Theater.
• Joan's fellow cast members were cool to her during filming. Walter Catlett went so far as to tell her, "Listen, fishcake, when Jeanne Eagels died, Rain died with her." (JCB)
• While filming on Catalina Island, Joan usually stayed in her cottage evenings, playing Bing Crosby records over and over, to the annoyance of her fellow cast and crew. (JCB)
• Joan's marriage to first husband Doug Fairbanks, Jr., was on the rocks during filming. She often refused to take his calls and was short with him when he sailed out for a visit, claiming he was ruining her concentration. She went into seclusion after the film wrapped in the summer of '32, and a belated honeymoon trip to Europe proved fruitless. The couple were officially divorced 7 months after Rain's release.