The Letter
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William Wyler's dark and poisonous melodrama, based on the W. Somerset Maugham novel, features Bette Davis in one of her nastiest roles. The story begins in the shimmering moonlight on a tropical Malayan rubber plantation. Shots ring out and a wounded man, Geoffrey Hammond (David Newell) staggers from a bungalow as Leslie Crosbie (Bette Davis) coldly follows him, pumping the remaining bullets into his body. She later tells her husband Robert (Herbert Marshall) that she shot Geoffrey, a mutual friend, because he was drunk and tried to take advantage of her. Robert, who owns the plantation,… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Prime Bette Davis featuring a memorable shooting in the opening."
‑ Steve Crum, Video-Reviewmaster.com
"If there is any doubt that Bette Davis is the star of this film, high above all others, it is vanquished by William Wyler's careful framing of her in every shot."
‑ Matt Bailey, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
"The second and best version of Maugham's noirish tale of adultery and murder is emarked by Wyler's nunaced mis-en-scene, Gaudio's lensing, and superlative acting of Bette Davis (surprisingly restrained), Herbert Marshall and especially James Stephenson."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"First-class cinema."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"even a bad Davis movie where she's hamming and mugging and even humiliating herself is more fun than practically no Bette at all."
‑ Jeremiah Kipp, Slant Magazine
"The Letter (1940) is a classic melodramatic film noir of murder and deceit, directed by William Wyler. The screenplay by Howard Koch"
‑ Tim Dirks, Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films
More reviews for The Letter on Rotten Tomatoes