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Wealthy socialite Letty Lynton is returning to New York, abandoning one-tine lover Emile Renaul in South America, when she strikes up a shipboard romance with Jerry Darrow. Renault is waiting for her in New York and will not leave her alone, so she poisons him. When detectives take her to the D.A.s office, Jerry cooks up an alibi. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
So many films of great movie stars are out of circulation for one reason of another. LETTY LYTTON is one of them. I have never seen it, although (from the sound of it it sounds interesting). I can though illuminate something of the background.
Marie Belloc Lowndes is recalled today for one novel (from a short story) entitled "THE LODGER". She was fascinated by crime and wrote books based on famous cases (like a younger contemporary, "Joseph Shearing"). THE LODGER was about the Jack the Ripper murders. Other novels of hers were turned into movies. THE STORY OF IVY became a film with Joan Fontaine as an unscrupulous poisoner (of her husband) - supposedly based on the Maybrick Murder Case of 1889.
LETTY LYTTON was based on the Madeleine Smith poisoning case of 1857 in Glasgow, Scotland. Madeleine was supposed to marry a Mr. William Minnoch, in a marriage approved by her very strict father (a leading architect). But she had been having very close relations with an Emile L'Angelier (foreign sounding for Scotland, but L'Angelier was from the Channel Islands of Great Britain). L'Angelier may have loved Madeleine, but he was also socially attracted to her position in Glasgow. He would not let her drop the relationship. Several times he visited her, and came home ill. The last time he died. Subsequently arsenic was found on his corpse. Love letters written by Madeleine led to her arrest. She was tried, but the jury (despite good reason) was not willing to find her guilty. They did not acquit either. Instead, she was found "Not Proven", which is a verdict on Scotland has. Madeleine eventually married an artist, George Wardle, until their divorce in the 1880s. She became a socialist (one of her friends in London was George Bernard Shaw). She married a second time, emigrated to America, and died in New York City (in the Bronx) in 1926 when in her nineties. She is buried there.
Certainly, in her later years, she did not have the wonderful wardrobe that was Ms Crawford's courtesy of MGM, but she had a reasonably quiet life. She fought a motion picture studio in the 1920s which wanted to make him a film about her career (it wasn't made). A woman of spirit (even if you do not think her innocent of murder). She did not know that LETTY LYTTON would appear in a film suggested by her story within a decade, nor that (in 1950) David Lean would make the definitive film about the case: MADELEINE.
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