Monday, July 5, 2010

Film Review for "The Letter" (1940)

Today on Turner Classic Movies I watched the great Bette Davis in The Letter, a 1940 film made during her years at Warner Bros. Studios (Davis was employed there from 1932 to 1949). In the film Davis plays Leslie Crosbie, a wealthy woman whose husband owns a successful rubber plantation. In the opening scene of The Letter we see Bette shooting down a man bullet after bullet with a cold expression on her face. When the police investegators and her husband Robert Crosbie (played by Herbert Marshall) arrive she claimes that she shot and killed the man in self defense for he was trying to moleste her.

In actuallity Leslie is lying; the man that Leslie has murdered was actually a lover whom she'd been seeing while her husband was away overseeing the various plantations. During the investigation a letter comes into focus written by Leslie in which it asks the deceased to come to her home and see her. The drama then continues as Leslie confesses to having written it.

Ms. Davis, as always, gives a brilliant performance in the female lead and she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her endeavors but she lost to out that year to Ginger Rogers in Kitty Foyle. This film was actually a remake; the first film version of The Letter was made in 1929 and starred Jeanne Eagles in the female lead and Herbert Marshall played Robert Crosbie; in this remake, which is more well known, he reprised his role.

Overall, The Letter is a wonderful film filled with suspense, intrigue, and boat loads of drama. Should you wish to see this film check your local listings. For those of you who are Bette Davis fans, like myself, this is one of her "must-see movies".

1 comment:

  1. The Letter is definitely one of Bette's best performances. My only trouble with this film is that I can only watch it every once in a while. Nothing against the movie itself, its just personal opinion. I really like the film, I just find that I enjoy it more when I dont remember what happens from the previous viewings.