Letter, The (1929)

Adulteress Leslie Crosbie fires a bullet into her lover then, for good measure, five more. At trial, her plaintive testimony tilts the jury toward acquittal. Then scheming Leslie learns someone has a telltale letter she wrote to her paramour.


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Genre:   Drama
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Letter, The (1929)
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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
Letter, The (1929)
 
4.3

(based on 20 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (7)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (11)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Classic style (13)
  • Engaging (5)

Cons

  • Uneven (3)

Best Uses

  • Entertainment (9)
  • Education (8)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Movie buff (16), Collector (8), Avid reader (4)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (15)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Astonishingly good quality.

I was surprised and delighted beyond measure at the quality of the print that was used in the pressing of this DVD. This film has fascinated me over the years as much for its...Read complete review

I was surprised and delighted beyond measure at the quality of the print that was used in the pressing of this DVD. This film has fascinated me over the years as much for its being the only extant record of a Jeanne Eagels performance with sound as well as for its unavailability for the most part with the exception of the sole existing copy (an 82 year old 35mm nitrate positive) from which this DVD was made. My bootleg copy as well as others I've encountered in recent years have ostensibly been struck from the aforementioned print (where else could they have come from?) but have been so poorly done as to be almost unwatchable. A few years back, Warners Home Video announced the release of a DVD encompassing both this film and its remake 11 years later. I was extremely pleased at this prospect as clearly the film had to exist in a better state than my own copy or any of the others I've seen in order for it to make its way to the home video market. For reasons unknown (to me) this never came to pass.
When Warners made this film available as a stand alone DVD recently I jumped on it and I am happy that I did. I expected the quality to be superior to what I've seen but was astounded at just how good it is. It is as though I never saw the film previously; it's THAT good. It didn't have to be as good as it is and I'd still have been thrilled by it.
If this film has been an item of interest to you for any of the generally accepted reasons you will make no mistake in acquiring this DVD.
An unexpected surprise and treasure! Thank you Warners.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Compare and contrast

It is great to read the original by Somerset Maugham ,,watch this first film production ,and then Bette Davis's later performance where the script has been played with to satisfy the demands of...Read complete review

It is great to read the original by Somerset Maugham ,,watch this first film production ,and then Bette Davis's later performance where the script has been played with to satisfy the demands of a more restrictive society. Both actresses effectively demonstrate their abilities. Bette ,as usual, chews up the screen , while looking beautiful . A lover of film should own both!

Reviewed by 20 customers

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3.0

Compare and contrast

By GARMAC

from Illinois

About Me Movie Buff

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Engaging Characters
  • High Production Value

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Adult Viewers
    • At Home

    Comments about Letter, The (1929):

    It is great to read the original by Somerset Maugham ,,watch this first film production ,and then Bette Davis's later performance where the script has been played with to satisfy the demands of a more restrictive society. Both actresses effectively demonstrate their abilities. Bette ,as usual, chews up the screen , while looking beautiful . A lover of film should own both!

     
    4.0

    Early talkies--well-preserved

    By Tio Jack

    from McAllen, TX

    About Me Movie Buff

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Blessed Event
    • Informative
    • Original
    • The Letter

    Cons

    • Disappointing
    • One Sunday Afternoon

    Best Uses

      Comments about Letter, The (1929):

      Very good ARCHIVE DVDs.

       
      5.0

      WONDERFUL DVD

      By Eddie

      from ROYAL OAK, MI

      About Me Movie Buff

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Classic
      • Engaging

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Education

        Comments about Letter, The (1929):

        Perhaps the ONLY way today to see the amazing and legendary actess JEANNE EAGELS. This opportunity was a dream come true. Not-to-be-missed by film buffs. A true rarity.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        a different version of Maugham

        By gewidmet

        from albuquerque, nm

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Classic

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about Letter, The (1929):

            The DVD is exceptional for its quality, given the age of the film (over 70 years). Plus, one is able to see/hear Jeanne Eagels, a big occurrence for a true fan of motion pictures. It's interesting to contrast her performance with that of Bette Davis, done in the early 40s. One can also see the different way that this earlier film treats the original (and marvelous) short story from the later version.
            Probably the audience is rather small for this kind of offering. I ordered the DVD because of an article in the New York Times that appeared some months ago.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Finally-out on home video!

            By JeffryDVD

            from North Hollywood, CA

            About Me Avid Reader, Collector, Movie Buff

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Classic
            • Engaging
            • Entertaining

            Cons

            • Uneven

            Best Uses

            • Education
            • Entertainment

            Comments about Letter, The (1929):

            Having heard about Jeanne Eagels legendary performance in this film, and having suffered through watching an extremely poor copy of this a few years ago, WA announcement of this excited me, and they did not let me down. Considering the condition of the material (a very battered work print missing sound over the main title), we are lucky to have this only surviving sound record of Eagels performance (her second talkie is lost as of now).

            And what a performance! True, the limitations of the early sound process are there (somewhat static cameras, dead sound places where you can tell the actors know not to talk) but Eagels is on fire here, and even though her performance may be theatrical, she almost bursts through the frame with the energy and vitality she brings to the role. While Bette Davis gave a great performance in the 1940 version, Eagels is working without a net here, and she knows it and she lets you know that she knows, and that is what makes this film worth it. The other performances are OK (Herbert Marshall, in his US film debut, plays the man Eagels kills-he played the husband in the '40 remake!) and there is an interesting use of miniatures in the opening, but considering that the film runs just barely over an hour, the film seems to zoom by, and you are breathless at the end, which would have been impossible to retain a few years later, when the Code was being enforced.

            You need to have this film in your collection!

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            A wonderful copy of a great film

            By frabranc film lover

            from Philadelphia, Pa.

            About Me Collector

            Pros

            • Classic

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Entertainment

              Comments about Letter, The (1929):

              A long lost film that I've wanted forever. It's agreat release.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No
               
              4.0

              eagels is magnetic

              By rootlesscosmo

              from san francisco ca

              Verified Reviewer

              Comments about Letter, The (1929):

              I still like William Wyler's version (with Bette Davis) better--this is much less cinematic, and the ending seems abrupt compared to the remake. But Eagels is terrific. Davis shoots her lover because he's insulted her; Eagels shoots him because she can't face a dreary, passionless future without him.

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great Acting, Great Power

              By Bruce Film Fanatic

              from Berkeley, CA

              About Me Avid Reader, Collector, Movie Buff

              Pros

              • Classic
              • Engaging

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Education
                • Entertainment

                Comments about Letter, The (1929):

                [...] good quality DVD.One of the great performances on film (Jeanne Eagels) at last available for us all to experience and appreciate.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • Yes

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Eagels Incandescence

                By RD

                from Los Angeles

                About Me Movie Buff

                Pros

                • Great actress
                • Historically important

                Cons

                • Stagey direction
                • Uneven

                Best Uses

                • Early talkies fans
                • Education
                • Jeanne Eagels curious

                Comments about Letter, The (1929):

                Good print of very interesting film.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Acting that is still relevant

                By Tyrone

                from Pittsburgh, PA

                About Me Movie Buff

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Classic

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Entertainment

                  Comments about Letter, The (1929):

                  It is a shame Jeanne Eagels died after making this film. Her performance
                  is as good as any contemporary actress. One wonders how she would
                  have gone on into the Pre-Code era.

                  The film has no loose parts: intro, conflict, resolution. All in 60 minutes!

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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