The Letter (1929)

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Original title The Letter
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1929
length 65 minutes
Director Jean de Limur
script Monta Bell
Mort Flower Stick
Jean de Limur
Garrett Fort
William Somerset Maugham
production Monta Bell
camera George J. Folsey
cut Monta Bell
Jean de Limur

The Letter is a 1929 American drama film directed by Jean de Limur . The screenplay is based on the play of the same name by William Somerset Maugham , published in 1924 .


The married couple Leslie and Robert Crosbie lived on a plantation outside Singapore in the 1920s. Leslie writes a letter to her lover Geoffrey Hammond asking him to visit her. Hammond reads the letter from his Chinese lover Li-Ti and leaves it with her. During Hammond's visit, Leslie confronts him with her knowledge of his relationship with Li-Ti. Geoffrey ends his relationship with Leslie and is then shot by Leslie. In court, Leslie testifies that Geoffrey Hammond was drunk and tried to rape her. You acted in self-defense. Everything points to an acquittal for Leslie Crosbie when On Chi Seng, assistant to Leslie's attorney Howard Joyce, learns of the letter. This letter could prove Leslie's guilt. The owner of the letter wants him for 10,000 US dollars to sell. Leslie wants her lawyer to buy the letter and keep it under lock and key. Joyce initially rejects the proposal, but then agrees. Li-Ti, the seller of the letter, made the condition to meet Leslie personally. Li-Ti humiliates Leslie, accuses her of murder and gives her the letter after receiving the money. The court acquitted Leslie, and her husband asked her lawyer about the cost of the trial. Robert Crosbie learns from Joyce about the $ 10,000 for the letter. Crosbie has the letter handed over to her, reads it and learns of his wife's affair. At home, Robert Crosbie confronts his wife. Leslie does not comment at first, but then insults her husband and accuses him of only having his work on his mind. She asks him to break up. Crosbie explains that all her savings have been used up and that she must stay with him and her memories in this house. Leslie replies that she still loves with all her heart the man she killed.


Jeanne Eagels was nominated for an Academy Award in 1930 for her portrayal of Leslie Crosbie . Eagels, who unexpectedly died in October 1929 at the age of 39, was the first actress to be posthumously nominated. In 1940 Bette Davis played the role of Leslie Crosbie in a remake, the film was released in German cinemas in 1949 under the title The Secret of Malampur . Davis, like Eagels, was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Leslie Crosbie. Herbert Marshall , who played his first major role as Geoffrey Hammond in 1929, took on the role of Robert Crosbie in the remake.

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