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Directed by William Dieterle
USA
1945

 

Starring Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten, Love Letters is a romantic mystery about a lovely, trusting young woman who suffers from amnesia after her husband’s violent death. During World War II, Roger Morland (Robert Scully) persuades his friend Alan Quinton (Joseph Cotton) to write passionate love letters to Victoria Remington (Jones). Believing that Roger is the author of the letters, she marries him. Roger’s deception sets in motion a dire chain of events that locks Victoria in a world of fear and clouded memories. So begins a tale of intrigue, love and suspense, as Alan returns home in search of Victoria, the woman he loves. Once he finds her, can he risk driving her over the edge with the knowledge of her past life? Nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Actress, this gripping thriller is an unforgettable romance/murder mystery that both touches the heart and teases the mind.

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Alan (Joseph Cotten), a soldier stationed in Italy during World War II, writes love letters for his ineloquent friend, Roger (Robert Sully), to his romantic interest at home, Victoria. Alan falls for Victoria through their correspondence despite his engagement to another woman. After being wounded, Alan returns home only to learn that Roger and Victoria have died under strange circumstances. However, an amnesiac named Singleton (Jennifer Jones) might hold the key to the mystery of their deaths.

***

A florid romantic melodrama about an amnesiac cured - and cleared of her husband's murder - by the love of a soldier (Cotten) who had earlier dreamed up the letters supposedly written by his buddy (whom she then married). Never mind the dottily contrived plot and the tiresomely fey Jones; the superlative camerawork (Lee Garmes) and Dieterle's brooding direction make it a really rather ravishing experience.

Excerpt from the TimeOut located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 25th, 1945

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DVD Review: Universal 'Vault Series' - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Universal - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:40:54
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.25 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   
Bitrate:
Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date: November 21st, 2014

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Chapters: 9

 

 

 

Comments:

Love Letters is a beautifully realized melodrama-romance with a touch of mystery - directed by William Dieterle. Jones and Cotten may have a natural niece/uncle chemistry but it resolves into a lovely and enjoyable mystique of the affair that's buried beneath the surface.

The disc is, predictably, single-layered and has no menus, or extras, and the transfer is interlaced (see combing sneaking into a few captures below.) Aside from that it was fairly consistent - thick, a shade green - solid detail in the many close-ups - no damage and very watchable. There are a few clunky compression artifacts but I didn't find them intrusive. Because of the film's length it's a notch below some of the other 'Vault Series' in terms of digitization only because the larger file size is spread over the single layer. Certainly not fatal, though.

The audio was also acceptable without distracting weaknesses.  The score by Victor Young (Strategic Air Command, The Sun Shines Bright, Johnny Guitar, China Gate etc.) really helps the film - supporting the moods and fostering emotion. There are no subtitles and the media is region free in the NTSC standard.

I'm a fan of both the leads and the bare-bones MoD DVD inferiorities didn't deter my viewing and I really enjoyed watching Love Letters. I've wanted to see it for years but don't know another digital avenue unless it's out in Europe. I do find the price exorbitant but the value is a personal thing. I will definitely be viewing this again... and feel good about it on my 'keeper' shelf. Vintage era fans know who they are and if they find this an enticement to own. 

Gary Tooze

 


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Distribution Universal - Region 0 - NTSC
Recently Reviewed Universal 'Vault Series' DVDs



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