MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 2,457 this week

The Letter (1940)

7.8
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 6,975 users  
Reviews: 92 user | 45 critic

The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense; a letter in her own hand may prove her undoing.

Director:

Writers:

(by), (screen play by)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

On TV

Airs Tue. Oct. 07, 7:30 AM on TCM

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 24 Dec 2010
 
a list of 46 titles
created 10 Jan 2013
 
a list of 35 titles
created 01 Apr 2013
 
a list of 21 titles
created 16 Aug 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "The Letter" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Letter (1940)

The Letter (1940) on IMDb 7.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Letter.

User Polls

Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the 20th century.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, Teresa Wright
Jezebel (1938)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A haughty headstrong Southern Belle in Antebellum Louisiana loses her fiance due to her stubborn vanity and pride and vows to get him back.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Popular and beautiful Fanny Trellis is forced into a loveless marriage with an older man, Jewish banker Job Skeffington, in order to save her beloved brother Trippy from an embezzlement charge and predictable complications result.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel
Dark Victory (1939)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young socialite is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, and must decide whether she'll meet her final days with dignity.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart
Dangerous (1935)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An alcoholic actress who is considered a dangerous jinx is rehabilitated, but she then shows that she's as dangerous as ever.

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Bette Davis, Franchot Tone, Margaret Lindsay
The Star (1952)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A washed-up movie queen finds romance, but still desires a come-back.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Bette Davis, Sterling Hayden, Natalie Wood
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When lovely and virtuous governess Henriette Deluzy comes to educate the children of the debonair Duc de Praslin, a royal subject to King Louis-Philippe and the husband of the volatile and ... See full summary »

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Bette Davis, Charles Boyer, Jeffrey Lynn
Now, Voyager (1942)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Boston spinster blossoms under therapy and finds impossible romance.

Director: Irving Rapper
Stars: Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains
The Great Lie (1941)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After a newlywed's husband apparently dies in a plane crash, she discovers that her rival for his affections is now pregnant with his child.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Mary Astor
Deception (1946)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A piano teacher believes that her fiancé, a cellist, was killed on the battlefield. When he returns alive, they marry, but are menaced and threatened by a wealthy, egotistical composer she started dating on the rebound.

Director: Irving Rapper
Stars: Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains
Marked Woman (1937)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A crusading DA persuades a clip joint "party girl" to testify against her mobster boss after her innocent sister is accidentally murdered during one of his unsavory "parties."

Directors: Lloyd Bacon, Michael Curtiz
Stars: Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Lola Lane
The Heiress (1949)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A young naive woman falls for a handsome young man who her emotionally abusive father suspects is a fortune hunter.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Herbert Marshall ...
James Stephenson ...
Frieda Inescort ...
...
Bruce Lester ...
Elizabeth Inglis ...
Adele Ainsworth (as Elizabeth Earl)
...
Prescott
Victor Sen Yung ...
Ong Chi Seng (as Sen Yung)
Doris Lloyd ...
Mrs. Cooper
Willie Fung ...
Chung Hi
Tetsu Komai ...
Head Boy
Edit

Storyline

The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense. Her poise, graciousness and stoicism impress nearly everyone who meets her. Her husband is certainly without doubt; so is the district officer; while her lawyer's doubts may be a natural skepticism. But this is Singapore and the resentful natives will have no compunction about undermining this accused murderess. A letter in her hand turns up and may prove her undoing. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Fascinating Tantalizing and DANGEROUS! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 November 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La carta  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

According to screenwriter Winston Miller Warner Brothers commissioned him to write a Western version of "The Letter" with the evil woman rewritten as a schoolmarm. It was offered to director Raoul Walsh, who refused to read it. According to Miller he said, "I don't make pictures about schoolteachers!" See more »

Goofs

When Betty and her lawyer are in Chinatown to collect the letter from the widow, there is a padlock on the door while they are waiting outside the building. Seconds later, a man unlocks the door from the inside. See more »

Quotes

Robert Crosbie: If you love a person, you can forgive anything.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Moon Over Malaya
12 October 2001 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

William Wyler directs Bette Davis in a fine screen adaptation of a Somerset Maugham story. The plot is sheer melodrama and has la Davis in all kinds of hot water, legal and personal, in British Malaya. Wyler's pretentious direction works better here than elsewhere, and this is one of his finest films. The combination of the director's grandiose desire to turn everything into high art meshes nicely with Maugham's journeyman but psychologically complex, basically mediocre tale. Add to this a bravura performance from his star, and the result is a highly watchable and intelligent movie.

The tropics are nicely evoked without without drawing too much emphasis to the fact that everything and everyone seems to be wilting in the heat. Wyler and his screenwriters have clearly done their homework, and along with the cast present a believable picture of the closed society that was the essence of British imperial rule. These people are more snobs than not, but they are often decent snobs, good friends to one another in a tight spot, and carry themselves with a kind of quiet dignity that seems to have died with the empire. There are some fine performances aside from Miss Davis', notably from James Stevenson as her lawyer, who yet seems to be her lover, but isn't; and Herbert Marshall, who may as well her lawyer but is in fact her husband. The moon figures prominently in the film, seeming to hover over the action, perhaps even dictating it, and giving the movie perhaps a stronger resonance than its civilized melodrama deserves.


24 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Cecil Kellaway? davisk957
'Eurasian?' Skrbi
Full Moon BumpyRide
James Stephenson Cello1949-2
The dagger lsgmusic
Simply... BRILLIANT!!! (nm) FranLovesBetteD
Discuss The Letter (1940) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?