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RITA HAYWORTH IS 'MISS SADIE THOMPSON' W/ CHARLES BRONSON

Charles Bronson and Henry Slate Year: 1953 Rates: ***1/2

This adaptation of Somerset Maugham's sordid tale about an alluring woman who gets progressively judged and berated and then lusted upon by a Christian missionary is less about moral hypocrisy and more about Evolution since, from the moment Rita Hayworth lands on a Samoan island full of Marines, the biggest and toughest jarhead in Aldo Ray has her number, and won't let go... None of his underlings, not even a more muscular Charles Bronson, harmonica-playing Henry Slate or goofball Rudy Bond has a chance... and most of MISS SADIE THOMPSON seems like PR for the noticeably-aged Rita Hayworth to still be a relevant sex symbol... for young male audiences...

And she does look pretty great despite overacting the 'good time girl' routine, singing her lines while speaking her songs. But that older, experienced countenance neatly blends into a free-spirited yet enigmatic character that bible-belting Jose Ferrer realizes could have been a prostitute, forcing our marooned goddess in bright red (symbolically contrasting with the grainy-dull browns and greens for what was originally 3D) into a sudden guilty change of conscience. And this 11th hour melancholy-Hayworth, although turning in a far more subtle, natural performance, is but a means to an extremely rushed ending: Instead of building a hate/trust/lust relationship between leads Hayworth and Ferrer, the latter gradually frowns then sermonizes and then explodes, leading back to that rushed romance with Ray, an infatuation as equally empty and hollow — but on HER terms.

Rita Hayworth and Aldo Ray in MISS SADIE THOMPSON
Rita Hayworth and Aldo Ray in MISS SADIE THOMPSON
Rita Hayworth and Aldo Ray in MISS SADIE THOMPSON
Charles Bronson and Aldo Ray in MISS SADIE THOMPSON
Charles Bronson and Rudy Bond in MISS SADIE THOMPSON
Rita Hayworth and Aldo Ray in MISS SADIE THOMPSON
Jose Ferrer and Aldo Ray in MISS SADIE THOMPSON
Charles Bronson aka Buchinsky in MISS SADIE THOMPSON
Charles Bronson and Rudy Bond in MISS SADIE THOMPSON
Rita Hayworth is MISS SADIE THOMPSON with Aldo Ray
Rita Hayworth is MISS SADIE THOMPSON with Jose Ferrer
Rita Hayworth is MISS SADIE THOMPSON
Opening Credits for MISS SADIE THOMPSON
The Evolutionary transition from sea to land for MISS SADIE THOMPSON
Rita Hayworth is MISS SADIE THOMPSON
END Credits for MISS SADIE THOMPSON

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