“Rain may well be one of the high water marks of Joan Crawford's career, both in terms of her beauty and her electrifying pre-star presence.... The reviewers hated Rain, it was a commercial failure, and Crawford herself (in her autobiography) considers it her worst film... (she seems to agree with the critics' accusation of her overacting). This second screen adaption of the Somerset Maugham story (the first screen Sadie Thompson was played by Gloria Swanson, directed by Raoul Walsh, but of which no complete print exists), with a screenplay by Maxwell Anderson,... directed by Lewis Milestone (All Quiet On The Western Front)... is visually ambitious - dolly shots swooping above the tropical vegetation, fatalistic tracks through the same....
“Crawford's Sadie, preceded in the film by her reputation and into the frame by high-heel strap sandals that look very ‘now,' blazons her way into the company of the navy boys with the excessive gaiety of someone ripe for conversion into equally fanatical self-denial. The instrument of this transformation (from Joan to Moan) is the reformist-preacher played by Walter Huston, who is marooned in the same hotel with Sadie, along with his wife (Beulah Bondi) and another, slightly younger couple.
“Given the intrinsic hokiness and irresistible appeal of the story... the ultimate power or failure of a production rests on the chemistry generated by the two antagonists, and here Huston's self-deluded zealot (shades of Abe Lincoln, the prison warden, the Sin killer) and Crawford's vulnerable temptress set off... sparks.... Sadie and the preacher can never meet in the fullness of body-soul contact but only as split beings in an ecstasy of guilt. They have changed places: she is all spirit, he all animal lust, for her promiscuity was as much a cover as his religion....”