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The Letter (1929)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 286 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 14 critic

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 »

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(dialogue), (titles), 4 more credits »
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Title: The Letter (1929)

The Letter (1929) on IMDb 7/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jeanne Eagels ...
O.P. Heggie ...
...
Herbert Marshall ...
Irene Browne ...
Lady Tsen Mei ...
Tamaki Yoshiwara ...
Kenneth Thomson ...
(as Kenneth Thompson)
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Storyline

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

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based on play

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

7 September 1929 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

The Letter  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally released by Paramount, the rights to the film were sold to Warner Bros. in 1939 when WB began production on a remake which was released the next year. 2 other early Paramount sound films would also be sold to Warners - 1932's "A Farewell to Arms" and 1933's "One Sunday Afternoon" (both were also acquired with intention to remake, but only the latter would ever be remade by WB). Thus, the "Popeye" cartoons would not be the only former Paramount properties sold to Associated Artists Productions in the mid-1950s - the three sound features Paramount sold to WB would be sold to a.a.p. with the rest of WB's pre-1950 features, as well as all short subjects released prior to August 1948 (except black-and-white Looney Tunes, non-Harman/Ising B&W Merrie Melodies, and the first cartoon in the latter series - "Lady, Play Your Mandolin") and the live-action short subjects released that month. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Leslie Crosbie: [direct to camera] With all my heart and all my soul, I still love the man I killed!
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Connections

Alternate-language version of Weib im Dschungel (1931) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Eagels fascinates in her only surviving sound film
8 April 2005 | by (new york) – See all my reviews

I was fortunate to see a rare screening of this (early) 1929 film. The lure for me was Jeanne Eagels, and her performance did not disappoint. Her screen presence is amazing - there is scarcely a performance from this early talkie period to compare it with. If Eagels was alive at the time (she died in October 1929), if Paramount had more clout with the MGM-dominated AMPAS at the time, she surely would have won the Academy Award for Best Actress (it went to Mary Pickford in one of the WORST performances of the period, in the nearly-unwatchable "Coquette"). Her final confrontation with her husband, one of the most dynamic pieces of film acting from ANY period, is alone worth the price of admission.

This film exists only as a work print, without final dubbed-in music and sound effects, which may be disconcerting to some viewers, but thank God Eagels' performance survives intact. The storyline is similar to the 1940 remake but without several plot variations imposed by the Hays Office, and in many ways this earlier film seems more modern, complete with a few profanities and obvious depictions of a brothel (that scene, with Eagels' character humiliated in front of a bevy of Asian prostitutes, is amazing). The casual racism of colonialists on display throughout the film may be off-putting when viewed today, but is historically and dramatically appropriate.

Rights to this film apparently belong to Universal, so the chance of its being distributed on DVD - along with the many wonderful Paramount pre-1934-code films, the brilliantly restored Technicolor "Follow Thru" and "Paramount On Parade", etc. - is slender-to-none. No studio cares less about its pre-1948 catalog, especially the Paramount titles, and we can only pray that whoever heads their video division will be replaced by someone who knows and loves this eminently under-exploited catalog. In the meantime, Run, don't walk if this is screened in your area, and experience this beautiful and vibrant star who influenced a generation of actresses (not the least of which, Bette Davis, who took much from Eagels).


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