"The Letter" is an absolutely fascinating early talkie. The only surviving talkie made by the legendary stage actress, Jeanne Eagels (whose skill as a Broadway stage actress was obvious in the delivery of her lines - particularly the final scene, which I found mesmerizing) cries out for a restoration! The print of the film I viewed had a very poor visual quality (although I could always discern the action), but became all the more tantalizing - this film probably looked great in 1929, and would still look wonderful in a refurbished print. For a very early "talkie", I was very surprised at how natural and "unstodgy" the dialogue is (and the soundtrack was remarkably clear and strong, with even a little bit of profanity, which I'm sure it raised a few eyebrows in 1929!) It is very unfortunate that Eagels' other talkie "Jealousy" is now lost, and all the more reason that "The Letter" (being the only sound document of this legendary actress) should have a wider distribution. I hope someone some day will spearhead such an undertaking.
A 2011 update: I recently acquired the DVD release of "The Letter" from Warner Archives. It is a revelation - an amazingly good print, particularly considering it is mastered from what is apparently the sole surviving 35mm print. Some segments lack musical background, but the dialogue is intact, and the visuals are far better than I expected (or hoped for!). Congratulations and many thanks to Warner Archives for finally making this treasure available!
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British national Robert Crosbie has operated a rubber plantation outside of Singapore for seven years, which both he and his wife of ten years Leslie Crosbie realize has been a sacrifice for her in needing to live away from "civilization". What Robert does not know is that Leslie has had a long term affair with a family friend, Geoffrey Hammond, with who she is in love, that love bordering on obsession. Conversely, Geoffrey is tiring of her, he now living with a biracial English/Chinese woman, about who he is up front with Leslie that he would choose over her. When Geoffrey is found shot to death in the Crosbie house, Leslie is placed on trial for murder. She is expected to be acquitted based on her defense that she killed him in self defense in his unrequited love for her, he who she had not seen in months and who showed up at the house unexpectedly the night she shot him. What may provide Leslie and her defense team some problem is a letter she wrote, which she assumes has been destroyed, and which requested Geoffrey come to the house to see her that night...
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
August 02, 2022 at 02:41 PM