Rain (1932)

Rain, a flop in it’s day,  is a visually beautiful film thanks to camera shots and angles by Oliver T. Marsh. Joan Crawford is at the height of her beauty dressed in tawdry makeup and baubles playing Miss Sadie Thompson a woman of questionable sexual morals.  Both she and underrated actor Walter Huston give powerful performances.  The first half can be slow but in the latter part of the film Huston upstages Crawford as a hypocritical Christian missionary whom the natives of Pago Pago call a witch doctor.

What makes this film special is it’s portrayal of the missionaries as the sinners; the prostitute as compromising and decent.  Crawford can see through his evil religious facade but eventually succumbs to his brainwashing in a very powerful robotic prayer scene.  Does she really convert or play for vengeance?