Miss Sadie Thompson

by Andrea Elizabeth

I can’t keep reading. It cuts too deep.

It began this morning when I felt compelled to watch Miss Sadie Thompson. I have learned to trust that inner guidance. The TV listing said this about it, “W. Somerset Maugham’s tale of tropical sex and salvation, with an impressive Rita Hayworth starring as a quarantined nightclub entertainer on a Pacific isle after World War II, where she incites passion in a Marine and a righteous preacher.” There is a pivotal scene towards the end that I missed part of because my tv momentarily lost the connection. I googled the last line I heard, “He just couldn’t practice what he preached.” and found this incredible University of California publication,


I read the chapter, “Recuperating Women’s Speech: Miss Sadie Thompson (1953)”. I am still reeling from it. Amy Lawrence has insights I’ve never heard of. I pulled up the introduction and have read a little, but it’s too much. Maybe like looking at yourself in the mirror for the first time ever would be. I just reread the tv listing blurb and I bet Ms. Lawrence would take issue with the sole responsibility given to Sadie of inciting passion. In the words of another South Pacific musical spectacle, “you have to be carefully taught.”

I’ll probably return to this soon.