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The Letter Blu-ray Review

Letter

Bette Davis shines in “The Letter.”

Directed by William Wyler, “The Letter” is a film noir/mystery that begins with a murder. Leslie (the wife of a rubber plantation owner named Robert) murders a man (Jeff) in self-defense after he allegedly tried to force himself upon her. The question is- is she telling the truth or is there something more going on? As the story unfolds, the questions begin to mount. Will she be charged for the murder or worse? Is there a witness (or witnesses) that know the truth? Is there a piece of damning evidence? All is revealed in the end.¬†

“The Letter” is a bit of an odd film. It comes out of the gate with a bang with the murder and the mystery of it all, but the script by Howard E. Koch quickly loses steam in the rather uneventful middle act as the story bides its time until the conclusion. Much of the time, there seems to be an over reliance on symbolism, psychological drama, and atmosphere which attempts to make up for the script’s shortcomings, but can only take the film so far.

Where “The Letter” really soars is with the cast. Star Bette Davis is likely the sole reason many folks have or will check this movie out and, in that regard, they get a fine performance with Davis in a femme fatale role. Perhaps the most interesting role here is that of James Stephenson as Howard who plays a lawyer that breaks the law and helps Leslie. He’s the most intriguing character of the entire film in terms of his character actions.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. Grade: B+

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. Grade: A-

Extras: Theatrical trailer, alternate ending sequence and 2 radio drama adaptations from 1941 and 1944 (both starring Bette Davis)

January 12, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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