Later that year it was produced as a play on Broadway under the title by which it is now known, Rain. It has been filmed three times.
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In Joseph Schenck, who had distributed the silent version for Swanson through United Artists, chose the property for a sound remake to serve as a vehicle for Joan Crawford. This version was directed by Lewis Milestone, who had established himself as a pioneering director of sound films with All Quiet on the Western Front and The Front Page in This version was not commercially successful it was the only film version that did not make money or garner critical praise for its star.
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The story was not adapted again until , when it became Miss Sadie Thompson and provided a starring role for Rita Hayworth abetted by color and the new 3-D process , supported by Jose Ferrer and Aldo Ray, and directed by Curtis Bernhardt. Each of the films claims to be based solely or in part on the original story.
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Owing to legal complications, the version declares itself to be entirely based on the original, while the film credits the story, the play, and unspecified additional script work by Maxwell Anderson. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is the play that forms the foundation of all the major film versions.
In order to appreciate the importance of the changes made by Colton and Randolph and carried over into the films, it will be necessary to look at the story at some length, in regard both to heteroglossia within the prose form and how it relates to the characters and their subsequent realizations in dramatic and cinematic form. The story concerns several people forced by quarantine to spend two weeks together on a South Sea island. Macphail and his wife meet the Reverend Alfred Davidson and Mrs.
Davidson who are missionaries in the Pacific on a ship bound for the island of Apia.
There they find that another passenger from the ship, Sadie Thompson, has also taken a room. Hearing loud music and men's voices coming from her room, Davidson realizes that she is a prostitute from Honolulu and exhorts her regarding her evil ways. He is thrown out of her room by some sailors. The language she speaks is an affront to male authority and middle-class decorum; her very ability to make sounds is fraught with obstacles; and, in the final instance, the story she tells threatens to undermine the patriarchal order.
In each of the works examined here, the character of the woman is the catalyst for the action.
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However the dialogue from the play, while much reduced, is still prominent in the silent film. Unlike the Maugham story, the play and the three films I shall be examining are average works and should not be considered artistically groundbreaking. Representative of their eras in styles of filmmaking, use of sound, and the representation of women, these texts will serve to demonstrate a series of general propositions about the relationship of mode to the representation of women and women's speech.