"THE LETTER" (1940)

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Re: "THE LETTER" (1940)

Postby CineMaven » Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:43 pm

I wonder what actress played the "Chinese woman" in the 1929 version of "THE LETTER." Aaaahhhh, would that it have been Anna May Wong. Why, she'd wipe up the floor with Bette and Jeanne. Does anyone know if the woman was shown?? I think the second of the clips of Eagels' perfomance in "THE LETTER" was thrilling.

Good evening Moira - "Hopelessly lost in trying to understand all that is going on under the surface of this story--that's me.”

Moira...you’re not hopelessly lost...your writing is brilliant and your understanding is on point!!

"I loved Maven's analysis of 'The Letter', and just hoped she didn't think I was dissing her--cause I wasn't at all in any way.”

Moira, I didn’t take anything as a diss. It’s all good between us, MiLady!!! All good!! :D

"Maven's description of the 1940 film was brilliant and opened my eyes to the corruption mercilessly examined and laid out for all to see in the movie. I think my problems understanding 'The Letter' stemmed from watching too many films in which the white British colonialists were seen as heroes and benign saviors to the native populations they lorded it over.”

After all this time, to still get a compliment over my pontificating essay on "THE LETTER” is so gratifying. I sincerely thank you!!! Imagine my dilemma as a woman of color in love with all that is Hollywood of the 1930’s and 1940’s. One film I now have a hard time with, and cannot watch is Errol Flynn’s "Sante Fe Trail.” They make Raymond Massey look down-right ka-razy in his emancipation efforts. I now note so many movies where the heroes are the Confederates, that I now cannot root for, much less watch them. I know about the ‘evil Asians’, and the ‘evil Injuns.’ But now I’m more cognisant. We all are. No harm, no foul. Just learning...and changing with the times.

And Jackaaaaaaay, you may not believe me, but when I wrote (over in the jungle) that I thought I saw a resemblance between Eagels and Gladys Cooper, I had not yet read what you wrote here at the Oasis. Great minds really do think alike...or else we’re both drinking outta the same bottle. (By the by...your avatar just kills me. Whoa!)

Ladies, I wonder what Wyler could have done with the Ann Harding-Basil Rathbone film ”LOVE FROM A STRANGER.” I swear, the last ten minutes of the film was like a drop from a roller coaster ride. My stomach was in my mouth!!!)
"You build my gallows high, baby."

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Re: "THE LETTER" (1940)

Postby JackFavell » Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:43 am

Oh, god, I drool for what Wyler could have done with that film! I would love to see what he would have done with Ann Harding, who also has that frail blonde wispiness, but with the oh-so-uppercrust toughness underneath.

I didn't see your post about Gladys Cooper! That's awesome, I am not the only one who saw the resemblance!
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Re: "THE LETTER" (1940)

Postby moira finnie » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:43 pm

Our fellow member CineMaven has expanded on her insights into the movie The Letter (1940) over at the Skeins of Thought, writing in her unusually vivid and entertaining style and illustrated with numerous new screen caps and images. Enjoy & thank you, T.!:

http://moirasthread.blogspot.com/2012/01/letter-1940-lie-is-as-good-as-truth.html
Avatar: Madam Satan (1930), which featured one of Cecil B. DeMille's more electrifying flights of fantasy.

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Re: "THE LETTER" (1940)

Postby movieman1957 » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:43 pm

This is great. I am in the presence of important and talented people. With you, Moira, having your blog and now Theresa having written a wonderful piece not long after Wendy makes a guest appearance at April's "Ford" website there is one surprise after another.

Thanks to you and MissMaven for a wonderful treat.
Chris

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Re: "THE LETTER" (1940)

Postby JackFavell » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:43 pm

Ooh, that's fantastic, Moira and Maven! I can't wait to go have a look. :shock:

I can't imagine there would be more to add, as the original posts were a great read in and of themselves. Congratulations!
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Re: "THE LETTER" (1940)

Postby CineMaven » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:43 am

Dear Moira,

THANK YOU!!

Thanxx so much for allowing me a moment on your fun, fact-filled, wildly humorous blog "Skeins of Thought." I truly appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Theresa
"You build my gallows high, baby."

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Re: "THE LETTER" (1940)

Postby Vienna » Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:43 am

I might be a bit late but can I say how appreciative I am of CineMaven's fantastic review of THE LETTER.A film I always seemed to avoid until a couple of years ago when I saw it with an audience on the big screen.
So many films can have such a powerful impact when seen as they should be seen, in a cinema.
Wyler proved what a great director he was. He created such an atmosphere of heat,fear and loathing. The script also so very well written.
Bette Davis at her very best with a character so complex ,Lesley's life led her to believe she was superior to the 'natives' and so therefore very hard for her to accept her lover preferred his wife to her.
I love CineMaven's description of Gale Sondergaard as "somber,stately,handsome,elegant." Also, likening her to The Thing!!!
Perfect!
I think Gale Sondergaard is so good, she only needs one or two scenes in a film to be remembered.It's a wonder the audience didn't cheer when she drops the letter and Bette has to bend down to pick it up. A perfect example of how scenes without words can speak volumes.
Bette deserved an Oscar and Gale should have had more scenes - though maybe not!
Thanks everyone for a great discussion.
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Re: "THE LETTER" (1940)

Postby RedRiver » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:43 pm

Wyler was so versatile it's mind boggling. From this Somerset Maugham story to JEZEBEL. The literary scope of WUTHERING HEIGHTS and DODSWORTH. The contained action in DETECTIVE STORY and THE DESPERATE HOURS. The all American drama of THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. Then there's that one about the charioteer! The epic to end all epics. Want to know how to tell a story? Any kind of story? Call William Wyler!
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