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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the midst of WWII, Ayn Rand was asked by producer Hal Walllis to adapt an intelligent but flawed novel by Chris Massie which concerned a girl who develops amnesia due to a sort of battleshock when she is convicted of murdering her husband, over love letters of hers he tried to burn--letters from him. What we learn in the movie is that another man had actually written them. So this story is a mystery, a romance, and a psychological study at the same time. Allan Quinton, played by Joseph Cotten, becomes a badly-wounded war hero and has to fight back from the brink of despair. Before he nearly dies and is shipped home, he has written the love letters in question to a girl he met once and doesn't even know--because he wanted to say the things that are important to him to a girl he didn't know, to make the expressing easier. But the girl, Victoria Remington, beautifully played by Jennifer Jones, understands. She too speaks of the beautiful hopes of life, the shining dream of one's hopes to be made real by giving up the inconsequential and by risking to attain them. He writes them for his friend who is a man without conscience out to grab whatever he can. The friend Roger Moreland, played by Robert Sully, ignores his warning and married Victoria on the strength of the letters. The tragedy that follows results in his death, and Victoria's being tried and sent to prison and then released to her guardian, played by Gladys Cooper. The theme of risk is played out a second time when Allan learns what has happened, that he in effect was the murderer in the case, and falls in love with Victoria--now suffering amnesia and calling herself Singleton--all over again. They take the risk that she will regain her memory and hate him and marry. Then gradually, haunted by terrible memories, she does "wake up"--leading to a bang-up revelation about the murder which Victoria did not commit and one of the most beautiful and memorable endings in film history. The cast is very good, especially Cecil Kellaway and Jennifer Jones; but the other bright stars of the film are William Dieterle's direction, the lighting, set, music and dialogue. Only a handful of sensitive films in cinema history have maintained context/mood and still expressed ideas as expertly as "Love Letters" does. One of the greatest and best-loved films of all time. And the most beautiful.
This modern re-working of the Cyrano De Bergerac tale has one
interesting twist, the Christian character is killed off in the first
reel and he's not a nice guy to begin with.
Joseph Cotten, a sensitive and romantic soul, is persuaded by an army buddy to write love letters in the friend's name to a girl he's trying to impress. It works real good, they get married.
But after Cotten is wounded and is invalided out of the British Army, he discovers that the man he wrote the letters for has been killed and his wife charged and convicted of the crime. The wife has also lost all memory of the event.
As fate would have it, Cotten and wife Jennifer Jones do meet and fall in love and they marry. That's how it's worked in these Hollywood romances. But you don't care when the players are as sophisticated as Joseph Cotten and as luminescently beautiful as Jennifer Jones. You don't even mind that these two American players don't even try to adopt British accents.
Love Letters was a great big hit for Paramount back then, helped no doubt by the title song which was also selling a lot of records. Dick Haymes had the big hit record of Love Letters. Perry Como and later Andy Williams did well by this most romantic of ballads. It's a personal favorite of mine.
If your taste is films about war time romances, this is the movie for you.
This is one of the 4 (successful) pairings of Joseph Cotten and Jennifer
Jones. The latter receiving 3 Oscar nominations for her (their?) efforts
(including this one). The debonair Cotten and the delightful Jones are
perfectly cast. The title of the film provides the "connecting thread"
our seemingly doomed lovers. This mystery/love story is a "grabber"
beginning to end. The film is a cornucopia of actions and emotions. The
English countryside is very effective for this tale. The inevitability of
their fates is obvious, but it's a very long and twisted road to get
and a very enjoyable road too...
Joseph Cotten at his best, Jennifer Jones at her best, and a fine supporting cast... A MUST SEE...
"Love Letters" is one of the most interesting films of 1945, yet it's
seldom seen these days. We watched an excellent copy of it courtesy of
a cable channel. The picture has kept well throughout the years.
Directed by an old pro of that period, William Dieterle, and with an
excellent cinematography by Lee Garmes, it was a joy to watch again.
Victor Young's haunting musical score plays softly in the background.
Some comments seem to indicate that Ayn Rand wrote the original work in which the movie is based. Contrary to those opinions, the fact is it was based on a Christopher Massie's novel, "Pity my Simplicity", and adapted by the author and Ms. Rand into the finished product. Ms. Rand was an obvious admirer of the French playwright Edmund Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, which plays in the action without making it too obvious.
The best thing in "Love Letters" was the casting of the main roles. Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten played with their characters with conviction. Ms. Jones was at a great moment of her movie career; her dual role of Victoria Morland/Singleton proved she was the right choice for it. Mr. Cotten was an actor that always delivered, as it's the case with his character, Allen Quinton, the man who has loved Victoria from a distance.
The marvelous cast is enhanced by Gladys Cooper, who is seen as Beatrice Remington, the woman who brought up Victoria as her own daughter and who holds the key to solving the mystery of the tragedy that involves Victoria. Ann Richards and Cecil Kellaway are also seen in minor roles.
"Love Letters" will delight fans of the genre as it is one of the better exponent of the Hollywood of the 40s.
This is one of my favorite movies of all times. Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten once again create magic and enchantment together on the screen. It also features magnificent performances by Ann Richards, Gladys Cooper, and Cecil Kellaway. "Love Letters" has everything a true Hollywood classic needs: romance, suspense, a surprise ending and of course, wonderful actors. I give "Love Letters" a 10!~
"Love Letters" is a 1945 film starring Joseph Cotten and Jennifer
Jones. It's a mystery/romance that also is a spin on "Cyrano de
Bergerac." As a favor to a buddy, British soldier Allen Quinten writes
letters to his friend Roger's girlfriend Victoria while they are
serving together, though Allen's conscience begins to bother him. He
has also fallen in love with Victoria, and he believes that Victoria
has fallen in love with a "man who doesn't exist." Once discharged and
back in the London area, he learns that Roger married Victoria and
later was killed. As it turns out, Roger was murdered by Victoria, who
served a year in prison for manslaughter. Allen blames himself, feeling
that the murder happened because Victoria was disillusioned when she
realized she married a man who was not the person she fell in love
with. When by coincidence he meets Victoria, she has amnesia. Once he
finds out who she is, it's too late - they're in love, and he wants to
This is a really lovely film, based on a novel and adapted for the screen by Ayn Rand. Though it may not seem a likely subject for Rand, her personal philosophy is in play. "Cyrano de Bergerac" was one of her favorite stories, and she believed, as she shows in "Atlas Shrugged," that any deception in love can only lead to disaster.
There's not much mystery to the story - you know what happened from the very beginning - but the romance is good, as is the acting. Gladys Cooper plays Victoria's aunt, who suffered a stroke after the murder. She's very good. Cotten and Jones make a great team as always, Cotten strong, sensitive, pensive and handsome, and Jones stunningly beautiful and fragile with that dreamy quality that made her so good in the later "Portrait of Jennie." "Portrait of Jennie" is more interesting and a better film overall, but both benefit from an ethereal performance by Jones and nice chemistry with Cotten.
The song "Love Letters" comes from this film. It is played throughout and adds to the lovely British country atmosphere. Highly recommended.
Love Letters has always been one of my favorite films. Fine performances by a superb cast, a good script by Ayn Rand and a perfect score by Victor Young. Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten were always compatible in their four films together. The chemistry between them is obvious. I confess a bias for this film because the title song has always been special for my wife and I for over 50 years. It was nominated for an Oscar but did not win. Such was the fate of composer Victor Young who not only failed to win an Oscar for "Love Letters" but also such memorable film songs as "My Foolish Heart," "Stellar By Starlight" and his most popular song "When I Fall In Love" (which surprisingly was never nominated even though it was in two films?) He finally received an Oscar after his death for "Around The World In 80 Days." Speaking of Oscar, Joseph Cotten was one of Hollywood's best actors for many years but he was never nominated for the big prize. Evidently, he made it look so easy he was never noticed. Jennifer Jones was radiant in this film and well deserving of her Oscar nomination. If you are a true romantic, I think you will love this film.
Although lacking the thematic elements of screenwriter Ayn Rand's subsequent novels, the script to this movie has an elegant plot and style characteristic of Rand's ever-popular novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Jennifer Jones is stunning as the quintessential innocent. I have watched the movie about three times and enjoyed it tremendously each time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten are at their best in this absorbing
romantic drama with a screenplay by (of all people) Ayn Rand. How the author
of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" got talked into writing this sort
of fragile romance is something I'm still puzzled over--doesn't seem like
her cup of tea nor does it bear the stamp of her writing in any way
Anyway, the story concerns letters that one soldier (Joseph Cotten) writes for another and what happens when the truth is revealed to the man's sweetheart (Jennifer Jones), who has of course fallen in love with the wrong man. The plot is too intricate to divulge here and doing so would be a spoiler anyway--suffice it to say that it all ends with a startling revelation involving another player in the cast. Lending solid support in minor roles are Gladys Cooper, Cecil Kellaway, Anita Louise and the charming Ann Richards who does splendidly in a key role. Jennifer Jones deserved her Oscar nomination as the bewildered girl who develops amnesia to forget a nasty incident involving the letters. Cotten is his usual charming self as the soldier who finds himself falling in love with the disturbed girl.
This film is more than just the best of the "other fellow writes love notes" genre. The Ayn Rand screenplay, though a potboiler, conveys the absolutist nature of true romantic love, which certainly dovetailed nicely with her objectivist philosophy. Jennifer Jones is lovely as ever, and extremely convincing in her amnesiac role. A fine film.
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