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Rain (1932)
In 1932 Joan Crawford was having a landmark year, highlighted with a starring role in the star-studded motion picture Grand Hotel. The 27 year old actress spent years paying her dues to make a name for herself. After many small roles she moved to headliner and even married into Hollywood royalty with her first husband Douglas Fairbanks Jr., son of early Hollywood's most handsome and energetic adventure star of the silent screen, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. In '32 Crawford would be lent to United Artist to star in their next picture Rain, a film based on a short story and play that they once produced as a silent in 1928 called Sadie Thompson, starring big name stars Gloria Swanson and Lionel Barrymore. With a racy story and Hollywood's hot young actress, United Artists thought they had their shot at box office success. To help direct the picture would be the two-time Oscar winner Lewis Milestone, (Milestone was nominated for three of the of the first four Academy Awards for directing. So he was the director for his time) providing the optimal skill with production quality.
Rain is a drama between a free, fun loving prostitute and a straight laced missionary. While spending time on a South Seas island the missionary does all he can to save the soul of young lady to whom he disagrees with. When a ship sailing the South Pacific reaches the island of Pago Pago the passengers are grounded due to an outbreak on the vessel. This leaves Sadie Thompson (Crawford), a woman of the night, to freely mingle with the Marines stationed on the island. The missionaries, Alfred Davidson and his wife (Walter Huston and Beulah Bondi), who happen to be spending time in rather close quarters with Sadie, do not take kind to her lifestyle and look to stop her evil ways. After his failed attempt to save Sadie's soul, Davidson has her issued to be deported back to the states by the governor, where she will do jail for past crimes. Yet Davidson would make a breakthrough converting the stubborn woman who now sees the errors of her ways. Just as Sadie was to ship back to the US Davidson has a moment of weakness with Sadie. This action ends in his suicide and Sadie returning to her ways stronger than ever in this morality play about the lines of righteousness and self-righteousness.
he story is an intriguing one, in that it is about what is right. In a Christian world (think about the different times this was made in) prostitution was, and still is, looked down upon. For a missionary to try to convert such a lady would not be out of the ordinary. But the story takes a turn as Davidson, after failing to right her ways, decides to destroy her life by having her sentenced for deportation and her ultimate criminal conviction. Davidson turns from savior of her soul to judge and jury, claiming that what he has done to bring her down is the Lord's work. All of this makes for a good plot as the right missionary is in fact the protagonist. Milestone masterfully shoots the picture, cleverly moving both camera and actors to create such depth in a film that for the most part takes place in the small confines of a general store/hotel. The acting is rather satisfactory as Huston

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An Afternoon with Silent Film Star 'Baby Peggy'

2011-07-28 21:15:52 by thomasg

In the 1920's, Diana Serra Cary was known as "Baby Peggy." Signed to a million dollar contract at age five, this pint-size child actress was once one of the biggest little movie stars in the world. Today, at age 92, she is considered the last surviving silent film star.
On Sunday August 7th at 2 pm, Cary will speak about her remarkable life in Hollywood more than 80 years ago at a special ...Pioneer Child Star."
"An Afternoon with Silent Film Star Baby Peggy" is presented in conjunction with the ongoing library exhibition "Reading the Stars: The Silent Era," which includes the "Baby Peggy edition" of two vintage children's books. This exhibit is part of an even larger celebration of the silent era, "Shhhhh! Silents in the Library" (through August 28). For more information, see

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