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Tagged With: Academy Awards

Flashback Friday: “The Letter”

As many of my readers know, I haven’t done Flashback Friday in awhile. Well, I’m happy to say that it’s back!!

Flashback Friday 3button 2x2


I have always been a fan of Bette Davis, but while hubby was away (one of the times he was in Iraq), I was up very late and The Letter came on.  The opening scene is Bette firing her gun over and over as a man tumbles down the steps.

TheLetter - BetteDavis - Opening Scene

From that moment on, I was enthralled!!  I couldn’t take my eyes off the tv.  

TheLetter Movie Poster

But first, a little about the movie.  The film is in the film-noir, drama, mystery, and crime genres.  The Letter stars Bette Davis (Leslie Crosbie) and Herbert Marshall (Robert Crosbie), along with James Stephenson (Howard Joyce – her lawyer and husband’s friend) and Freida Inescort (Dorthy Joyce).  There’s also several other minor players in this movie.  Some of them are quite shady and eerie!!

TheLetter 1

Gale Sondergaard (Mrs. Hammond)

TheLetter 2

Victor Sen Yung (Ong Chi Seng)








This movie was directed by William Wyler and released by Warner Bros. in 1940.  It was nominated for 7 Oscars at the 1941 Academy Awards in including Bette Davis for Best Actress in Leading Role, Max Steiner for Best Music Original Score, and William Wyler for Best Director.  Other nominations were Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (James Stephenson), Best Cinematography Black-and-White (Tony Gaudio), and Best Film Editing (Warren Low).  The Letter didn’t win any Oscars, but it did win 2 awards at the 1940 New York Film Critics Circle Awards.  

Here’s a brief synopsis of The Letter from IMDb….

The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense; a letter in her own hand may prove her undoing.

And here’s one from TCM….

A woman claims to have killed in self-defense, until a blackmailer turns up with incriminating evidence.

One of the most interesting parts of this film is that in the beginning, Leslie (Bette Davis) begins making lace (crocheting).  She’s seen working on it throughout the movie.  The representation of the lace is much like the crime that she committed.  It’s a web of lies and deceit.  It continues to grow.  By the end of the movie, it’s this beautiful lace shawl that Leslie wears to a secret meeting.  It is one of the best figurative objects in film as far as I’m concerned!!

TheLetter - Crochet Lace


TheLetter - BetteDavis - Crochet Lace

TheLetter - BetteDavis - Lace

I highly recommend that you watch this movie.  You won’t be disappointed.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen it and it never gets old….or boring.  The Letter has stood the test of time and is definitely a classic that’s not to be missed!!

To learn more about Flashback Friday, please click here to visit my page telling you all about it.  If you’d like to join in Flashback Friday, please join the linky below.

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Now quit reading this post and go watch this movie!!


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