The Letter
The Letter (1940)

Based on a novel by W. Somerset Maugham, William Wyler's drama stars Bette Davis as Leslie Crosbie, the malevolent wife of a Malaysian rubber magnate (Herbert Marshall) who is accused of murdering her lover and attempting to cover up… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG
Running Time:
Release Date: November 23, 1940
DVD Release Date: January 11, 2005
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Critic Score: 100% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Steve Crum

Prime Bette Davis featuring a memorable shooting in the opening.

Matt Bailey
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

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.

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Emanuel Levy

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.

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Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

First-class cinema.

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Jeremiah Kipp
Slant Magazine

even a bad Davis movie where she's hamming and mugging and even humiliating herself is more fun than practically no Bette at all.

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Tim Dirks
Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films

The Letter (1940) is a classic melodramatic film noir of murder and deceit, directed by William Wyler. The screenplay by Howard Koch

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More reviews for The Letter

Flixster Audience Score: 83% Flixster User Reviews
Aj V
A slightly predictable story of blackmail and murder involving Bette Davis. Pretty good movie, but it could be more exciting.
Cindy I
One of the best opening scenes ever! If the rest of the film was as good as the opening, this would get five stars. I don't want to spoil it, but you… More
Randy Tippy
What a powerful performance by Miss Davis in a very unflattering role. All the elements are present for a great motion picture (casting, direction &… More
jay nixon
mood piece
Stella Dallas
maybe the best of ms. davis' many fine performances. and one of the best opening scenes ever.
John Ballantine
Another sizzler from Bette Davis. Presumably this version trumps the '29 version which I am still trying to see. Davis the nasty is in her prime dealing… More