Miss Sadie Thompson (1953): Curtis Bernhardt’s Third Version of Somerset Maugham Starring Rita Hayworth

Set in New Caledonia, Miss Sadie Thompson is the third Hollywood adaptation of Somerset Maugham’s “Rain,” this time around starring Rita Hayworth in the title role and José Ferrer as Alfred Davidson.

The story was previously filmed in 1928 as Sadie Thompson with Gloria Swanson, and in 1932 as Rain, starring Joan Crawford.

The source material began as a stage play, titled Rain, starring the great actress Jeanne Eagles.

Made before the Production Code of 1934, the two former versions were more explicit in their sexuality and more faithful of Maugham’s literary source.

In this adaptation, to satisfy the censors, Sadie is no longer a whore but a nightclub entertainer “with a past,” while Davidson is not a minister but a lay preacher.

Davidson tries to save Sadie’s soul, only to lose his own in the process.

Giving the strongest performance, Aldo Ray co-stars as Sgt. Phil O’Hara, the marine sergeant who has a crush for on Miss Thompson.

Rita Hayworth sings seductively some musical numbers, including “The Heat is On,” “Blue Pacific Blues,” and “Hear No Evil, Seek No Evil.”

It was shot in Hawaii.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Song: Blue pacific Blues (sadie Thompson”s song), music by Lester Lee, lyrics by Ned Washington.

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Best Song Oscar was “Secret Love” from Calamity Jane, by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster


Running time: 91 minutes

Directed by Curtis Bernhardt

Written by Harry Kleiner