The Letter is a 1940 American FILM NOlR crime drama directed by William Wyler, and starring Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall and James Stephenson. The screenplay by Howard E. Koch is based on the 1927 play of the same name by W. Somerset Maugham, derived from his own short story. The story was inspired by a real-life scandal involving the wife of the headmaster of a school in Kuala Lumpur who was convicted in a murder trial after shooting dead a male friend in April 1911. She was eventually pardoned.
You can find out more about this movie from Wikipedia.
Reviewer:Rodney M. Dunn
January 7, 2022 Subject:
The Hollywood treatment.
Read the play and then watch the movie to see how Hollywood in its puritanical excess can vitiate the original intentions of an author through sanitizing and moralizing. Bette Davis is wonderful, but it makes you want to see the play without the moral antiseptic.