Jeanne Eagels plays the bored and restless Leslie Crosbie who turns to another man, Geoffrey Hammond (Herbert Marshall) for attention when neglected by her husband Robert (Reginald Owen). ... See full summary »



(stage play), (adaptation)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Mrs. Joyce (as Irene Brown)
O.P. Heggie ...
Lady Tsen Mei ...
Tamaki Yoshiwara ...


Jeanne Eagels plays the bored and restless Leslie Crosbie who turns to another man, Geoffrey Hammond (Herbert Marshall) for attention when neglected by her husband Robert (Reginald Owen). Robert decides to go out for the evening to pick up a new rifle. Leslie's calm vanishes as she awaits an answer to a letter she has written Hammond. He has found a new love - a beautiful unscrupulous native woman Li Ti (Lady Tsei Mei) and has discarded Leslie. Written by Cheepnis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on play | See All (1) »


Blinded by the fury of passion - by the despair of a lost love -- she had not reckoned with







Release Date:

7 September 1929 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

A Carta  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of "The Letter" by W. Somerset Maugham opened at the Morosco Theater on September 26, 1927 and ran for 104 performances. See more »


Robert Crosbie: Leslie, dear, I think I'll go into Singapore tonight. Exchange this rifle. It's not heavy enough for tigers.
Leslie Crosbie: Well, don't be long... I'm afraid I'm as nervous as the natives
See more »


Version of Producers' Showcase: The Letter (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating early talking picture with an equally fascinating star.
26 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film has recently been restored to a 35mm print. I was fortunate enough to see it. A great deal is already said here about Jeanne Eagels' performance. The only thing I can add is that Bette Davis seems to not have so much modeled her performance in the remake, as to have modeled her own physical persona in general on Eagels, who has a subtle body twitch that Davis took to (delightful) extremes later on. Certainly Davis would have seen this original movie version, and may have even seen Eagels on stage in other properties.

The sound is very primitive in this early version. At first it seemed like the sound wasn't even working. But the problem is that there is no sound until the film gets to a scene that has dialogue. It would have been interesting to hear more ambient sound added so you would be less likely to notice the old-fashioned audio, but then purists might complain.

Nevertheless, the film is fascinating and so is Eagels. I saw the film with an Asian friend who liked the fact that the film doesn't shirk from racism. The sequence where the heroine delivers the letter to the dragon lady was fun to compare to the later version. The early version is a lot racier! Also, I must point out that Herbert Marshall, who appears in the later version as the heroine's husband, is very young and handsome as her murdered lover in this 1929 production.

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