6 user 3 critic

When You Read This Letter (1953)

Quand tu liras cette lettre (original title)
2:27 | Trailer
Therese is a nun-in-training who returns to "civilian" life to care for her young sister Denise.


Jacques Deval





Cast overview, first billed only:
Philippe Lemaire ... Max Trivet
Juliette Gréco ... Thérèse Voise
Yvonne Sanson ... Irène Faugeret
Irene Galter Irene Galter ... Denise Voise (as Irène Galter)
Daniel Cauchy ... Biquet
Robert Dalban ... Dick
Jacques Deval Jacques Deval ... Le juge d'instruction
Fernand Sardou Fernand Sardou ... Le garagiste
Claude Borelli ... Lola
Roland Lesaffre ... Roland
Marcel Delaître Marcel Delaître ... Le grand-père (as Marcel Delaitre)
Colette Régis Colette Régis ... La supérieure (as Colette Regis)
Jane Morlet Jane Morlet ... La grand-mère
Suzy Willy Suzy Willy ... Mme Gobert
Claude Hennesy Claude Hennesy


Therese is a nun-in-training who returns to "civilian" life to care for her young sister Denise.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The title is a quotation from the opening line of the letter in Letter From an Unknown Woman (Ophuls, 1948)... 'When you read this letter I will be dead.' See more »

User Reviews

Interesting melodrama from Melville's early career
10 November 2005 | by kinsayderSee all my reviews

Max Trivet is a garage mechanic, boxer, thief and local gigolo. When his seduction of a young shop girl turns to rape, the girl's sister Thérèse, an ex-nun, plans her revenge. However, it appears that even the austere Thérèse may not be immune to his charms...

Many of the iconic Melville elements are present already in this early film: the big American cars, the scenes with night club dancers rehearsing their act, the long raincoat and hat which Max wears... The plot is more melodramatic than we would expect from the director's later work, but Melville complicates this with ambiguities that add considerably to the interest of the story: Max is portrayed as cruel and cynical, yet also sympathetic; while Thérèse, played by the singer Juliette Greco, is so cold and impassive it is hard to guess, even at the end of the film, what her feelings and intentions have been towards Max.

The use of music is very interesting in this movie, each of the main characters being given not just their own theme but their own instrument: an accordion for Max, a church organ for Thérèse, a harpsichord for her sister Denise, and a piano for the married woman whom Max seduces. There is some striking cinematography, too, notably in the scene on the beach at night, with Thérèse and Max appearing as silhouettes against the turbulent sea.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



France | Italy



Release Date:

26 July 1953 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Quando Leres Esta Carta See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,166, 16 September 2018

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed