Allan Arkush on

The Letter

Released 1940
Distributor Warner Bros.

The second of Bette Davis’ three collaborations with William Wyler (the first was 1938’s Jezebel boasting a brilliant Davis performance), this 1940 melodrama features a somewhat convoluted plot mixing betrayal and revenge while playing out in an overheated Malaysian setting. The theatrical hijinks are grimly effective and Davis and Wyler are near their peak, not to mention the underrated Gale Sondergaard, whose forbidding beauty is used to good effect as a vengeful widow.

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About Allan Arkush

A record collector and film buff from birth, Allan Arkush brought his two loves together in directing the cult classic Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. Back in the day Allan was directing and executive producing television series like Heroes, and Crossing Jordan.  He has also directed episodes of Ally McBeal, Moonlighting, St. Elsewhere, Fame, A Series of Unfortunate Events and TV Movies like Elvis Meets Nixon and Shake Rattle & Rock as well as the mini-series, The Temptations, for which he won an Emmy. He used to have a lost film, Get Crazy, but Kino/Lorber found it in time for Christmas 2021. His day job is teaching Film production & history at the AFI.