Skip to main content

The Letter (1940)


The 1940's film, The Letter is the original Fatal Attraction.  The film opens in Malaya when Leslie Crosbie, played by Bette Davis shoots a gentleman caller, identified as Geoff Hammond a family friend.   After having her husband summoned and a police officer arrives she confesses to killing Mr. Hammond after he tries to make love to her grasping for the revolver to protect her honor.  Leslie is immediately brought into custody with little protest as though she was going to a day at the beach.  Each time Leslie is questioned her story never changes and is repeated word for word that, neither  herself or her husband had seen Geoff for many months until he appeared on her doorstep.  This is until a incriminating letter surfaces, written in Leslie's hand to Geoff Hammond on the day of the murder asking him to come to her home.  Of course this changes everything, following lies and deceit with a confession that can only be compared to Glen Close.

Two words could complete this review, Bette Davis.  Although that sounds cheap and undeserving for such a film.  It goes without saying that she is phenomenal, her emotion oozes like she is putting her entire being into the character giving the watcher a better connection to the story, even if you haven't killed your lover. That is not to say that Davis is the only one to give a heart wrenching performance, Herbert Marshall, who plays her devoted husband Robert Crosbie, pulls at your strings after finding out what a sham his marriage is and his life is in ruins.  Here he cries openly without restraint and I really felt for him.

I've always enjoyed William Wyler as a director because like Hitchcock he has a very different way of looking at things.  Speaking of Alfred Hitchcock, in his Rebecca while Maxim de Winter is stating how he killed the first Mrs. de Winter the camera flows about the room as if following a pantomime and feel like  you're seeing it through the killer's eyes.  Wyler does this too and I think it really adds something.

I hadn't watched The Letter in a very long time and forgot how stupendous it is.  This film puts me in the mood for Bette Davis and W. Somerset Maugham who's play it was based on.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

RIP Billie May Richards

I'm a week late but being a child from the 80s just had to pay tribute.  Billie May Richards beloved voice of the 1964 Rudolph and Care Bears Tenderheart  passed away at the age of 88.  Even now in my 20s I still watch the 60s claymation Christmas movies on ABC Family.   Therefore in memory, RIP Billie May Richards.


Movie Review: Dial M for Murder

In London, wealthy Margot Mary Wendice had a brief love affair with the American writer Mark Halliday while her husband and professional tennis player Tony Wendice was on a tennis tour. Tony quits playing to dedicate to his wife and finds a regular job. She decides to give him a second chance for their marriage. When Mark arrives from America to visit the couple, Margot tells him that she had destroyed all his letters but one that was stolen. Subsequently she was blackmailed, but she had never retrieved the stolen letter. Tony arrives home, claims that he needs to work and asks Margot to go with Mark to the theater. Meanwhile Tony calls Captain Lesgate (aka Charles Alexander Swann who studied with him at college) and blackmails him to murder his wife, so that he can inherit her fortune. But there is no perfect crime, and things do not work as planned. ~ IMDB






Hitchcock's Cameo -- a group photo of Tony Wendice's college days





I hadn't seen Dial M for Murder in several years …

Movie Review: Begin Again (2013)

Begin Again was a cheesy imitation of Coyote Ugly which was an ugly picture to begin with.  The film stars Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine and revolves around Keira Knightley's character Gretta getting into the music business after her boyfriend (Adam Levine) gets too big for his britches when he strikes it big.  

Levine's acting is left to be desired and feels like he's reading from a script.  Keira Knightley, who I usually really like gave a phone in performance  and was like a crazy person who forgot to take their meds.  as for her singing ability, or lack there of, she kept singing the same drivel over and over again with each song sounding the same.  With her recent break-up what little music there was came off as a bad remix of Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know".  Mark Ruffalo is first introduced as a man down on his luck just being fired from his job as a music producer.  He discovers Gretta and when approaching her his demeanor was th…