6.7/10
580
30 user 19 critic

The Letter (1929)

Passed | | Drama | 7 September 1929 (Argentina)
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 »

Director:

Jean de Limur

Writer:

W. Somerset Maugham (stage play)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jeanne Eagels ... Leslie Crosbie
Reginald Owen ... Robert Crosbie
Herbert Marshall ... Geoffrey Hammond
Irene Browne ... Mrs. Joyce (as Irene Brown)
O.P. Heggie ... Howard Joyce
Lady Tsen Mei ... Li-Ti
Tamaki Yoshiwara Tamaki Yoshiwara ... Ong Chi Seng
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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The fatal letter that cost the life of her lover, her own happiness and that of another. (Print Ad- Victoria Advocate,((Victoria, Texas)) 14 May 1929) See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 September 1929 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

The Letter See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

Leslie Crosbie: I want to know what you're - doing - with that Chinese woman in your house.
Geoffrey Hammond: I didn't know there was a China woman about.
Leslie Crosbie: I have seen her.
Geoffrey Hammond: What's she like?
Leslie Crosbie: Common. Vulgar.
Geoffrey Hammond: You're not paying me a very pretty compliment.
Leslie Crosbie: Geoffrey, will you swear to me that she is not your mistress.
See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating early talking picture with an equally fascinating star.
26 March 2005 | by jgeppersonSee 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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