- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours
- Video: Black & White
- Released: August 5, 2011
- Originally Released: 1929
- Label: Warner Archive Collection (MOD)
- Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Description by OLDIES.com:
Adulteress Leslie Crosbie fires a bullet into her lover then, for good measure, five more. At trial, her plaintive testimony tilts the jury toward acquittal. Then scheming Leslie learns someone has a telltale letter she wrote to her paramour.
Starring in the 1929 screen tale of Somerset Maugham's The Letter is the actress who made a name for herself as the stage's Sadie Thompson in Maugham's Rain: Jeanne Eagels. As Bette Davis did when she famously played Leslie 11 years later, Eagels earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her volatile performance. Eagels tragically died six months after the film; today it remains the lone available talkie testament to her talent. Kim Novak played Eagels in 1957's biopic Jeanne Eagels.
THE LETTER was the first film version of the Somerset Maugham play of the same name. Broadway star Jeanne Eagels plays the wife of Reginald Owen, the owner of a Malayan rubber plantation. The film opens with Eagels shooting a man (Herbert Marshall) to death; she explains that the man had tried to assault her. It is assumed that the subsequent trial will go well for Eagels, who has the advantage of wealth and social position. But Eagels' lawyer (O.P. Heggie) learns of the existence of a letter sent to the dead man in which Eagels declares her undying love--thereby proving that the killing was not justified. At great personal expense, the lawyer buys back the letter from the dead man's wife, a grim native woman. Only after Eagels is found not guilty does she reveal her indiscretion to her husband. She tries to convince him that she will be a faithful wife in the future, but suddenly pulls back and violently declares "With all my heart--I still love the man I killed!" THE LETTER was remade in 1940 (with considerable censorial alterations) starring Bette Davis as the murderess and Herbert Marshall--the victim in the 1929 version--as her cuckolded husband.