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directed by Jean de Limur
USA 1929


Adulteress Leslie Crosbie fires a bullet into her lover then, for good measure, five more. At trial, her plaintive testimony tilts the jury toward acquittal. Then scheming Leslie learns someone has a telltale letter she wrote to her paramour. Starring in the 1929 screen tale of Somerset Maugham’s The Letter is the actress who made a name for herself as the stage’s Sadie Thompson in Maugham’s Rain: Jeanne Eagels. As Bette Davis did when she famously played Leslie 11 years later, Eagels earned a Best Actress Oscar® nomination for her volatile performance. Eagels tragically died six months after the film; today it remains the lone available talkie testament to her talent. Kim Novak played Eagels in 1957’s biopic Jeanne Eagels.


Theatrical Release: 17 March 1929

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1.00.42

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.65 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: June 21st, 2011
Keep Case

Chapters 7



Back in 2005, when Warner Home Video was on top of their home video game and before the DVD release collapse, 1929 version of The Letter was announced to be released on a double-feature DVD with its 1940 remake with Bette Davis (HERE). While 1940 film got a release (and later included in Bette Davis Collection Vol. 1), the only surviving acting performance by talented Jeanne Eagels was still in a rights limbo and was pulled from that release. Now, in 2011, the film makes its DVD debut as part of Warner Archive Collection, a release that this program was made for. It's a miracle this film survives at all and the last performance by Ms Eagels in Jealousy doesn't survive at all (that film was also remade, in 1946 with Bette Davis, as Deception).

Considering film's age and rarity, the transfer is fine. There are many marks and damage on the print, but that can be expected. The sound, likewise, has seen better days. There are many drop-outs and the disclaimer from Warner states that the soundtrack doesn't survive completely. As expected, there are no subtitles or closed captioning and no extras are included. Despite all the short-comings, we can recommend this release from Warner Archive if only for the stellar Oscar-nominated performance by Jeanne Eagles.

  - Gregory Meshman


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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC


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