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The short story by SOMERSET MAUGHAM on which THE LETTER is based underwhelmed me somewhat...largely because of the unsatisfying ending. i may be off on my dates, but it strikes me now as an attempt to emulate EM FORSTER'S A PASSAGE TO INDIA, to which it has some similar themes.

again, all you fans of HERBERT MARSHALL, check out the 1929 version of THE LETTER which appears to be in the public domain and is on archive.org- or at least check out his scenes which come at the first part of the movie (in this version, we see the character of JEFF HAMMOND before Leslie dispatches him.)

it's a stunning 180 from his performance in the 1940 movie and- again- makes me respect him all the more.

(I could post it here, but i am loathe to post videos of full movies on this site lest the moderators or Eddie himself- no fan of the Public Domain- crack me knuckles fer it)

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Am I the only person who thinks Eddie Muller is a self-important doofus?

Who picks "The Letter" -- a great William Wyler film with one of Bette Davis' best performances -- as part of the noir genre?

(and is there anything more annoying than Muller shilling the silly, ill-advised TCM Wine Club with the equally obnoxious Tenaya Darlington?)

This guy thinks he's the cat's meow!

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He said it wasn't really a noir in his comments, but had his own reasons for choosing it. I didnt mind, as it gave me another chance to watch it. And no, I dont think he's a self important doofus (a few people here do, but not many) He knows what he's talking about. As for the wine club, I change the channel when that runs (constantly). They need someone to shill it.......

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I like Eddie Muller and have difficulty understanding people who don't. He's the opposite of "self- important"; he often gently mocks himself.

The "let's knock Eddie" faction here reminds me of a few years ago, when a bunch of posters here were always complaining about Ben Mankiewicz - and with the same criticism, that they thought he was "self-important".

Maybe they're just jealous.

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I don't have any problems with Eddie Muller.  I find his comments interesting and informative.  I don't care what genre what film is supposed to be.  Honestly, I didn't even realize that The Letter wasn't noir.  It has a lot of style elements that are present in legit noir. 

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How dare anyone knock the Tsar of Noir. Don't you know Eddie had a book on the

NYT's best seller list. I repeat, Eddie had a book on the NYT's best seller list. Have

you had a book on the NYT's best seller list? Case closed.

 

I recall reading about Herbert Marshall and Vincent Price cracking up on the set of

The Fly in Penny Stalling's Flesh and Fantasy. I would recommend that book to

any film fan. It is light-hearted and funny and covers many topics with a ton of

stills and photos. 

 

 

y

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4 hours ago, Bronxgirl48 said:

Am I the only person who thinks Eddie Muller is a self-important doofus?

Who picks "The Letter" -- a great William Wyler film with one of Bette Davis' best performances -- as part of the noir genre?

(and is there anything more annoying than Muller shilling the silly, ill-advised TCM Wine Club with the equally obnoxious Tenaya Darlington?)

This guy thinks he's the cat's meow!

I have or have seen most of the Noir Alley movies, but I still record and watch them to hear Eddie Muller's commentary.  I was kind of disappointed in The Letter being shown and to me his narratives were too focused on the director, producer and star rather than the movie.

I don't think Muller is "self-important" as much as well informed.  His presentations are from someone who knows whereof they speak.

As for the wine club, I just switch the channel.  Problem is that TCM is Free to us.  OK, may require upgrading to a different tier, but still basically free.  So, TCM has to make money somehow - unless you want commercials throughout the movies.

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I like Eddie Muller.  He is informative and doesn't seem to be too full of himself to me.  I like the commercial for the two noir showings where he has a cocktail in one hand, a coffee cup in the other hand and then he pours the drink into the coffee cup at the end of the commercial.

I don't have a problem with the wine club commercials; I just wish they would show some new ones.  The sound can be muted if the commercials are that irritating to some viewers.

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Guys, all I can say is that I love noir but just think Eddie is, well, superfluous.  I know that sounds counterintuitive, lol, but it's the way I feel.  

I've gotten used to Ben Mankiewicz and actually enjoy him!

 

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13 hours ago, ChristineHoard said:

 

I don't have a problem with the wine club commercials; I just wish they would show some new ones.  The sound can be muted if the commercials are that irritating to some viewers.

this is true, and yet....

my remote ALWAYS seems to be in-between the cushions of my chaise lounge or wrapped up in the covers and sheets or on the floor or under the bed or in the refrigerator or in the next room or in my pocket or in a cabinet or in the refrigerator or on any one of five junk-cluttered "occasional" tables I have strewn about.

so i usually spend the wine commercials or the "it's an honor for me to talk about..." promos weaving an intricate tapestry of profanities and epithets as I toss empty diet sprite bottles and socks in the air and by the time they're over I've found any number of things I wasn't looking for, but not the GD Remote.

(basically no one's fault but my own when you get right down to it.)

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Here's another vote FOR Eddie Mueller. I really enjoy hearing his comments on the movies they run on Noir Alley. Also, I'd much rather watch Wine Club promos than commercials for reverse mortgages, walk in tubs, stair lifts, and the pharmaceutical of the month. 

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2 minutes ago, Hoganman1 said:

Here's another vote FOR Eddie Mueller. I really enjoy hearing his comments on the movies they run on Noir Alley. Also, I'd much rather watch Wine Club promos than commercials for reverse mortgages, walk in tubs, stair lifts, and the pharmaceutical of the month. 

I hate those SO MUCH. 

(so valid point is taken.)

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20 hours ago, Hibi said:

EDDIE said [THE LETTER] wasn't really a noir in his comments, but had his own reasons for choosing it.

i was visited by the Angel of Migraines Saturday night and missed Eddie's comments, but I'll go out on a limbsy here and say it: I THINK "THE LETTER" (1940) is a film noir.

I mean, c'mon:

Shadows. Night. THE MOON. Palm fronds. The dripdripdrip of sap from a rubber tree into the bucket.a gunshot. Another. Another.Another.Another.Another. Click. click. click. Smoking barrel. WINDCHIMES. Shadows. Curtains. Blind slits. "AM I SO EVIL?" MILE WIDE EYES. MORE SHADOWS! MAX STEINER SWOOPS IN WITH THAT MARVELOUS MANIC DEPRESSIVE SCORE FOR STRINGS!MORE SHADOWS! MORE WINDCHIMES! MORE PALM FRONDS!BLACKMAIL! MURDER! "there is in existence a letter...""WITH ALL MY HEART, I STILL LOVE THE MAN I KILLED!"

NIGHT. THE GARDEN. THE MOON. ORCHIDS.

A KNIFE.

(if that ain't film noir, I dunno what is.)

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Hoganman1 said:

I know. I was a big fan of Tom Selleck until he started doing those ads. Face it; IT IS JUST ANOTHER WAY FOR THE BANK TO GET YOUR HOUSE!!

i would have more respect for them if they were based around parents who really hated their kids and were looking forward to screwing them out of something when they go.

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22 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

i was visited by the Angel of Migraines Saturday night and missed Eddie's comments, but I'll go out on a limbsy here and say it: I THINK "THE LETTER" (1940) is a film noir.

I mean, c'mon:

Shadows. Night. THE MOON. Palm fronds. The dripdripdrip of sap from a rubber tree into the bucket.a gunshot. Another. Another.Another.Another.Another. Click. click. click. Smoking barrel. WINDCHIMES. Shadows. Curtains. Blind slits. "AM I SO EVIL?" MILE WIDE EYES. MORE SHADOWS! MAX STEINER SWOOPS IN WITH THAT MARVELOUS MANIC DEPRESSIVE SCORE FOR STRINGS!MORE SHADOWS! MORE WINDCHIMES! MORE PALM FRONDS!BLACKMAIL! MURDER! "there is in existence a letter...""WITH ALL MY HEART, I STILL LOVE THE MAN I KILLED!"

NIGHT. THE GARDEN. THE MOON. ORCHIDS.

A KNIFE.

(if that ain't film noir, I dunno what is.)

 

 

LOL. A jungle noir? :D

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Not sure I would consider THE LETTER a film noir myself, but nevertheless I loved being able to watch it again.

(SPOILER ALERT) I know some believe that Gale Sondergaard and her accomplice ended up getting busted by the police officer happening to pass by, but the officer didn't really see Leslie getting stabbed.  Maybe they ended up beating the rap.

Anyway, it's hard to root for justice for Leslie after she admitted she didn't shoot her victim out of self-defense as she had originally claimed but even had the nerve to confess to her husband that she STILL loved the man she killed.

 

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Everyone is entitled to their opinions and I don’t want to be piling on, but here are a few comments about Eddie Muller:

I myself have taken issue with some of the more bombastic things Eddie has said, but as Eddie explained on this very message board, part of that is Eddie trying to promote Noir films and engage more viewers for the channel.

As part of the program, Eddie is playing with the themes that are inherent to the Noir genre itself that attract people to the subject matter - the more sensational aspects of crime stories, the tough guy protagonist, the femme fatale, etc.  Eddie is winking at us while giving us the basics as to what went in to making these films.

There probably wouldn’t be a Noir Alley without Eddie.  Eddie has gone all-in with TCM to create a series that gives us 5-minute introductions and wrap-ups almost every week (extensive time for TCM) that he personally writes.  I think Eddie also has a strong (perhaps exclusive) role in selecting the films as well.

Eddie was born and raised in San Francisco and his father was a boxing writer so he almost literally has Noir in his blood.

Eddie is also founder of the Film Noir Foundation, and the work they do to restore and promote classic films has to be appreciated.

Eddie and TCM are trying to make a fun series that we all can enjoy and learn from, and for that I am grateful.  In an age of tremendous cable downsizing, the fact that TCM is still showing movies complete without commercials is something of a miracle to me and I want to enjoy that as long as I can.  For that I am willing to look the other way during whatever is promoted in between the films.

For anyone who enjoys classic films, I would encourage them to not take Eddie’s persona too seriously and just go with the flow and try to appreciate something that we are fortunate to have access to every week.

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While we're on the subject of The Letter, I find it interesting that Leslie is never shown on the stand during the trial in the film. Does anyone know if scenes were filmed, then cut or was there nothing in the original screenplay about her taking the stand? (the film doesnt really need it as she goes through her story in the beginning).

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25 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Not sure I would consider THE LETTER a film noir myself, but nevertheless I loved being able to watch it again.

(SPOILER ALERT) I know some believe that Gale Sondergaard and her accomplice ended up getting busted by the police officer happening to pass by, but the officer didn't really see Leslie getting stabbed.  Maybe they ended up beating the rap.

Anyway, it's hard to root for justice for Leslie after she admitted she didn't shoot her victim out of self-defense as she had originally claimed but even had the nerve to confess to her husband that she STILL loved the man she killed.

 

It was a convenient way to show they didnt get away with it and appease the code. They still had the knife that was used. Plus in the morning Bette's body would be discovered  (or even sooner) and they'd be the prime subjects. Doubtful they'd beat the rap, esp. killing a Colonial.....but the viewer is left to assume what happened down the road.

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52 minutes ago, Hibi said:

LOL. A jungle noir? :D

I call them Tropic Noirs, Yes it fits right in with The Shanghai Gesture (1941), The Lady from Shanghai (1947), The Bribe (1949), A Lady Without Passport (1950), Macao (1952), Affair In Trinidad (1952), The Wages of Fear (1953), Hell's Half Acre (1954), Affair In Havana (1957) and maybe a few others.

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6 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

I call them Tropic Noirs, Yes it fits right in with The Shanghai Gesture (1941), The Lady from Shanghai (1947), The Bribe (1949), A Lady Without Passport (1950), Macao (1952), Affair In Trinidad (1952), The Wages of Fear (1953), Hell's Half Acre (1954), Affair In Havana (1957) and maybe a few others.

YES. LOL!

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30 minutes ago, Hibi said:

While we're on the subject of The Letter, I find it interesting that Leslie is never shown on the stand during the trial in the film. Does anyone know if scenes were filmed, then cut or was there nothing in the original screenplay about her taking the stand? (the film doesnt really need it as she goes through her story in the beginning).

alls i can help you with is that the JEANNE EAGELS version** does have a courtroom scene; like you said, it's not really necessary in the 1940 version....

(**- sorry i won't shut up about it. but really, seeing it upped my respect for the 1940 version which was already in my top ten for the decade. it's an improvement in most every respect...in fact, now that i think about it, I BET WYLER WAS SO TIRED OF FIGHTING BETTE'S DESIRE TO EMULATE EAGELS that he deliberately omitted scenes from the earlier version just to save his battles. )

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