"Rain" is the story of Sadie Thompson (Joan) who is staying on the island of Pago Pago after she left her home in San Francisco. Sadie is sexy, provocative, outspoken, and very friendly with the male G. I.'s who are also on the island with her.
Sadie's ways really tick off Alfred Davidson (played by Walter Houston). Mr. Davidson is a judgmental, prudish missionary that will not rest until he gets Sadie deported. At first, Sadie has no intention of leaving and becomes incredibly indignant. Sadie says, "you take care of your evil, and I'll take care of mine..." -- words to live by.
But, when she realizes that her deportation would be imminent she becomes very freighted and pleads with Alfred Davidson to allow her to stay.
He doesn't relent, but Sadie changes her ways, nevertheless. She is no longer the flashy dresser or "plaything" for the men on the island and has accepted her deportation (and subsequent prison sentence in San Francisco.)
On the eve of her return there is a climactic outcome and Sadie hightails it to Sydney; back to her old tricks!
Joan Crawford was absolutely devastatingly beautiful in this picture, and her acting was firstrate. The fear in Sadie was so believable; and the anger that Sadie had towards the hypocrisy of the missionaries was purely evident. This is without a doubt Joan's best picture of the 30's.
Poor Joan was crucified for this film (and for many since) when it was first released in 1932. Joan even publicly apologized to her beloved fans (who meant the world to her), because for the first time in her career they turned their back on her! No one wanted to see Joan Crawford play a wanton women of loose morals. They didn't realize that Joan Crawford was born to play the part of Sadie Thompson.
This is one of my favorite Joan Crawford pictures, because her true acting abilities really shine. She also plays a very different character; since she was on loan from MGM she was no longer tied to the sweet love-triangles that they gave her during her heyday in the 30's. This film does remind me of another Joan classic, "Laughing Sinners."