La Lettre (1930)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 70 min.  |   Countries - France, USA  |  
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La Lettre is the French-language version of the 1929 American film The Letter. Based on the Somerset Maugham play of the same name, the French adaptation stars Marcelle Romee as Mrs. Leslie Bennett, the character played in the American version by legendary Broadway star Jeanne Eagels. After shooting down her lover George (Andre Roanne), Leslie tells her husband Phillipp (Gabriel Gabrio) and lawyer Mr. Joyce (Paul Capellani) that she was acting in self defense. As Leslie's trial proceeds, there is every indication that she will be acquitted -- until Joyce learns of an incriminating love letter written by Leslie to George, a letter now in the possession of George's Eurasian mistress Li-Ti (Princess Hoang Thi The). Risking arrest and disbarment Joyce convinces Phillip to purchase the letter for $10,000, keeping it from the eyes of the judge and jury. After being pronounced "not guilty," Leslie returns to her husband, tearfully promising to be a loyal and dutiful wife -- only to erupt in a sudden burst of hysteria, exclaiming "No! No! With all my heart, I still love the man I killed!" Filmed at Paramount's French facilities in Joinville, La Lettre is a scene-for-scene remake of The Letter, though in terms of acting and directorial technique, the two films were as different as night and day (in fact, the French version ran some nine minutes longer).