Miss Sadie Thompson

Miss Sadie Thompson is a 1953 American 3D film starring Rita Hayworth, Aldo Ray and José Ferrer, and was released by Columbia Pictures. The film is based on the W. Somerset Maugham short story "Miss Thompson" (later retitled "Rain"). Other film versions include Sadie Thompson (1928) starring Gloria Swanson, Rain (1932) starring Joan Crawford, and Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A., a 1946 race film.

Miss Sadie Thompson
Film poster
Directed byCurtis Bernhardt
Produced byJerry Wald
Written byHarry Kleiner
Based on"Miss Thompson"
1921 short story
by W. Somerset Maugham
StarringRita Hayworth
José Ferrer
Aldo Ray
Russell Collins
Diosa Costello
Peggy Converse
Charles Bronson[1]
Music byMorris Stoloff
CinematographyCharles Lawton Jr.
Edited byViola Lawrence
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
December 23, 1953 (1953-12-23)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.9 million (US)[2]


A bar girl from Hawaii, a religious zealot and a love-struck Marine struggle with sin and salvation just after World War II while Sadie Thompson kicks out several songs, including the Oscar-nominated "Blue Pacific Blues".



In February 1952 producer Jerry Wald announced he had the film rights to the play adaptation of Rain from producer Lester Cowan. Wald had a production unit at RKO with Norman Krasna and wanted to make it as a musical in color.[3]

In October 1953 Wald left RKO to become a vice president and executive producer at Columbia Pictures. He planned to personally produce two films a year and said one of these would be Rain. It would star Rita Hayworth, who was the biggest star at the studio.[4] Harry Kleiner was assigned to write the script.[5] Plans were made to shoot the film in 3-D.[6]

This was Hayworth's third film after her marriage to Prince Aly Khan had kept her off screen for four years. The public eagerly welcomed her return in two previous films Affair in Trinidad and Salome so Columbia gave Miss Sadie Thompson an "A" film budget.

"It would give her the chance to not be glamorous," said Wald.[7]

3-D films had become a fad, with some 3-D films drawing huge crowds in major cities, so it was used as well. Exteriors were filmed on the island of Kauai, Hawaii and interiors on the Columbia lot.

The original story of sin and redemption was sanitized to appease the Production Code and several musical numbers were inserted to spice up the tepid reworked plot. As with her previous films, Hayworth's singing was dubbed, this time by Jo Ann Greer.

In August 1953 Hayworth and Ray shot some additional romantic scenes.[8]

By the time of the premiere on December 23, 1953, interest in 3-D had died down considerably. After a two-week run, all 3-D prints were pulled. The film was given a national release "flat", in other words, in regular prints, minus the 3-D.

The film was banned in some territories such as Memphis.[9]


  • Variety wrote, "She catches the feel of the title character well, even to braving completely deglamorizing makeup, costuming and photography to fit her physical appearance to that of the bawdy, shady lady that was Sadie Thompson".[10]
  • The Village Voice wrote, "Although its Hays Code sanitizing is mitigated somewhat by the glorious extravagances of 1950s cinema (it's a Technicolor, 3-D star vehicle with musical numbers), Miss Sadie Thompson (1953) is a scoured version of Rain (1932)."[11]
  • Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote, "The character of Sadie is drained of considerable point by the prudence of the producers. And Miss Hayworth is left with a role in which she is able to inject very little, outside her own particular brand of appeal".[12]


  • A dual projection polarized 3-D print of Miss Sadie Thompson was screened at The World 3-D Expo 2006 September 10, 2006 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, Ca.
  • A 3-D version of the trailer can be seen in the Blu-ray Collection "3-D Rarities" from Flicker Alley.
  • A VHS full screen edition of Miss Sadie Thompson was released in 1994 but is no longer available.
  • A DVD full screen edition of Miss Sadie Thompson was released in 2001 but is no longer available.
  • Another edition of the DVD is available as part of "The Films of Rita Hayworth" 5-disc box set.
  • A 3D Blu-ray is now available in the US as of July 12, 2016 from Twilight Time Movies.[13] [14]


  1. Credited as Charles Buchinsky.
  2. 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1954', Variety Weekly, January 5, 1955
  3. WALD AND KRASNA TO REMAKE 'RAIN': Musical Edition in Technicolor Planned for Old Stage Hit -- -- Peter Lawford in Role By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times 13 Feb 1952: 35.
  4. HOLLYWOOD CHANGE: Appointment of Wald as Columbia's Top Producer Held Significant -- Addenda By THOMAS M. PRYORHOLLYWOOD. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]02 Nov 1952: X5.
  5. LADD PLANS MOVIE OF A WHALING TRIP: Actor to Make 'White South,' About Antarctic Expedition, Abroad for Irving Allen By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times 3 Nov 1952: 36.
  6. Natural Vision Plan Aimed at Hayworth; Film Refused Code Approval Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times25 Nov 1952: 21.
  7. De Mille Films Drew $600 Million at the Box Office Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 3 Jan 1954: D5.
  8. SONG-DANCE PLUM FOR JUDY HOLLIDAY: Actress to Star in Her First Film Musical, 'My Sister Eileen,' Under Columbia Banner By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times 31 Aug 1953: 22.
  9. FUGITIVE DEL GADO SEEKS TO RETURN: Former Policeman Who Fled Indictment Makes Bid to Come Back From Mexico Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]17 Jan 1954: 3.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-07. Retrieved 2006-10-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. "- Review - Movies - New York Times". Movies2.nytimes.com. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  12. "Miss Sadie Thompson 3D Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  13. "New Releases - Twilight Time Movies". Twilighttimemovies.com. Archived from the original on 3 August 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
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