The Letter (1929)
Reviewed in June 2010
Director: Jean de Limur. Cast: Jeanne Eagels, Reginald Owen, O.P. Heggie, Lady Tsen Mei, Herbert Marshall, Tamaki Yoshiwara. Screenplay: Garrett Fort, Monta Bell, and Jean de Limur (based on the play by W. Somerset Maugham).

Photo © 1929 Paramount Pictures
Name bigger than title; ph George Folsey; OPH second billed, but not in full cast list; Singapore Harbor; lots of wandering, few sound elements; track toward lighted residence in deep darkness; wants to exch rifle for heavier one; she becomes restless as a ...native; for heav sake GO if you're going!; wives comfort: natives, dowdy planters' wives; pained wh to write @ desk; back to head-down knitting aft sending off letter (no gloating); izz it, that white wooman?; tilt As wom, down letter, up As wom; "I... shall... be... wetting"; after reading letter: "He LIED to me---"; eyes w/o face; primly @ end o fmy tether; "Don't take me for a circu sidiot, please!"; rows her fault?; BHelm; "you've been living with a Chinese woman for ONCE" "I wnat to know what you're---doing with that Ch women in yr house!"; refutes non-surg treatments; offers total self-transformatoin; "sick & tired of the whole thing... do you want me to tell you in so many words that you mean nothing to me"; short, clippped, "If you leave me now I'll kill myself"; Asian: "He LIED to me..."; Jeffrey, I can't go long any lohnga; I'm at the end of my tethah; HM no writing to JE; Jeffrey WHAT is that Chinese woman doing in your house; common and vulgah (she's hoity-toitying her own class position), even if she sometimes gets stuck in lazy, panto gestures; rep sawing motions with popping gun; "Mrs. Robert Crosbie"; I was sitting quietly, working on my lace....; sometimes Franju, b/c overxposed and decaying print; "I don't make any pretensions to being a raving beauty, you know"; compliment on eyes; b/c you think I'm drunk? in an ABRUPT way...; the most OBVIOUS explanation; Eagels' own mealiness and sense of unrest actually imparts a tawdriness to the whole exercise (vs. BD); And he said,not MUCH, not MUCH, I've got you NOW; wilting, tearful, "i cunt"; insert cut on ('hts lips were hot') tosome kind of greasy-haired Caligari character; you see he kissed my face, ny neck, my hair; "And he wasn't a man any longer, he was a savage"; "I really don't ASK you to believe me, but I didn't even know I was bulling the TRIGgah!" (soft, birdlike); long, sustained monologue; "some sort of scandal with a ...half-caste Chinese woman"; was she acctractive; No, I wouldn't say so; bracelets and bangles; Judge: "Your wife's a fine woman, Crosbie, it's a shame she has to be dragged through all this muck..."; Roxie Hart; Robert: London, then Sumatra; "This letter, Sir, was written the night of Hammond's death - it is quite UNUSUAL in tone..."; $10,000 bribe; "Well, I have been eduCATed in the schools of the white man"; books the Chinese have written? "Only ONE sir, ConFUCIUS!" (prod from pocket); I don't think it's so very strange that ONE little detail escaped my memory; giant eye flash; "I admit that it's all extravagant and emotional; I write like that, you know"; I do not wish you to tell me anything but what is necessary to save your neck!; she GRABS her neck, doubles over; gold-medal manipulator: I'm asking more for Robert's sake than for mine: unsyrupy; unflirtatious; OPH: But don't think I don't know I'm doing wrong - I am; Don't you want him to see it? NO, swallowing bile, knowing what an admission this is; It's trange that a man can live with a woman for 10 years and not know the first thing about her - it's rather..... FRIGHTening (Karloff-ready); "traditional" dance, made up like cobras; "Has the white woman arrived?"; coached over with OPH; Hades descent; snake fight!; beholding Asian woman takes breath out of JE; How dare you lte that man in while I'm HERE; Ahhhh, white lady think she too good fort the teahouse; you come to buy your LIFE!; vile yellow thing like you; BUT YOUR HUSBAND: How they will laugh at HIM! How all SINGAPORE will laugh!; Asian woman pulls letter out of coat, and then drops it at her feet for JE to pick up; Howard lets OPH know about letter and $10,000 ransom; looks down with drink tray in hand, sees letter in OPH's hand, long crushed CU, fuming as she turns to lawyer; 10 min left as they leave; well, Robert, you've read the letter...; he's STEAMED; I want to know whether you've been my wife, or just a COMMON - DON"T SAY THAT!!; lover for years, constantly together; he was my only LIFE until, I heard abt that Chinese woman; impressive fury even in reocunting the shooting and its prompting; I know, I know, I know I've been vile; this godFORSKEN place, and you've kept me here for seven years; she almost throws up on "planter's wives"; postgame breathlessness; your whole life was just wrapped up in RUBBER!; accelerated scherzes: "WhatI wanted; whatI wanted. i'mfleshandblood; whatIWANTED, wasLOVE!"; Y'AHR not going anywhere, there's no money to send you away!; I'm to remain here in thise house with my mmMEMORIES! throwin back head and shoulders every time, bulging eyes; Ha!; I, with all my heart and soul still love the man I killed, ha HA!; I still love the man I KILLED! double rep; caustic to husband, but also her most awful memory AND THAT'S THE END B

Academy Award Nominations:
Best Actress: Jeanne Eagels

Permalink Home 1929 ABC Blog E-Mail