Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Clarence Brown|
|Produced by||Lawrence Weingarten|
|Release dates||May 9, 1934|
|Running time||93 minutes|
Sadie McKee is a 1934 motion picture, directed by Clarence Brown, and starring Joan Crawford, Gene Raymond, Franchot Tone and Edward Arnold. In the film, Crawford plays the title character—a young working girl suffering through three troubled relationships on her road to prosperity.
Sadie McKee works as a serving maid in the same household where her mother is a cook, and is admired by the son of her employer, lawyer Michael Alderson. However, when Michael talks badly of her boyfriend, Tommy Wallace, during a family dinner, Sadie openly denounces her employers as snobby and insensitive. Sadie then flees to New York City with Tommy, who was fired from his job in the Alderson factory for alleged cheating. Nearly broke, Sadie and Tommy are befriended in New York by Opal, a hardened club performer, who takes them to her boardinghouse. The next morning, Sadie leaves the boardinghouse to look for a job but makes plans with Tommy to meet at the marriage license bureau at noon. Soon after she leaves, however, neighbor Dolly Merrick hears Tommy singing in the bathroom and seduces him into joining her traveling club act, which is leaving town that morning. Heartbroken and embittered by Tommy's desertion, Sadie struggles to find reputable employment but eventually joins Opal as a dancer in a nightclub. Ten days later, Jack Brennan, a jovial, rich alcoholic, helps Sadie handle an abusive customer and then demands that she sit at his table, which he is sharing with a friend—Michael Alderson. Still angry at Michael, Sadie ignores his speech to leave his intoxicated companion alone and goes home with Brennan that evening. Soon after, Sadie marries the adoring Brennan and, while enjoying her newfound wealth, does her best to handle his constant drunkenness. Then one afternoon, Sadie, who has been following Tommy's crooning career, goes to see him performing with Dolly at the Apollo Theater and is thrilled by the loving looks he throws her during his number. However, when Sadie returns home that evening, she learns from Michael and the family physician that unless Brennan stops drinking, he will die within six months. Sobered by the diagnosis, Sadie sacrifices her chance to reunite with Tommy and, after rallying the servants to her side, imprisons her husband in his house and forces him to quit drinking. Later Sadie goes with Michael and the now recovered Brennan to the club where she used to dance and is startled to see Dolly there performing without Tommy. After she confronts Dolly and finds out that Tommy was dumped in New Orleans, Sadie confesses to Brennan that she is in love with another man and wants a divorce. The understanding Brennan grants Sadie her request, and Michael, anxious to win her forgiveness, undertakes to find Tommy. Michael eventually locates Tommy in the city and deduces that he is suffering from tuberculosis. Aided by Michael, Tommy is admitted to a hospital. By the time Sadie is allowed to see him, Tommy's condition has suddenly worsened, and he dies after telling her that it was Michael who had helped him. Four months later, Michael celebrates his birthday with Sadie and her mother, and looks into Sadie's forgiving eyes before making his birthday wish.
- Joan Crawford.... Sadie McKee Brennan
- Gene Raymond.... Tommy Wallace
- Franchot Tone.... Michael 'Mike' Alderson
- Edward Arnold.... Jack Brennan
- Esther Ralston.... Dolly Merrick
- Earl Oxford.... Stooge
- Jean Dixon.... Opal
- Leo G. Carroll.... 'Finnegan' Phelps, Brennan's Butler
- Akim Tamiroff.... Riccori, Cafe Headwaiter
- Zelda Sears.... Mrs. Craney, Landlady
- Helen Ware.... Mrs. McKee
- Gene Austin.... Cafe Entertainer on Piano
- Candy Candido.... Cafe Entertainer on Bass
- Otto Heimel.... Cafe Entertainer on Guitar
The Hollywood Reporter noted, "Swell picture...sure-fire audience...well-tailored for the talents of Miss Crawford.... the stuff the fans cry for...direction of Clarence Brown something to rave about...a humdinger for femme fans."