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In turn of the century Vienna, Stephan (Louis Jourdan), a womanising young concert pianist, tries to escape a duel with the husband of his lover. About to leave the city he is handed a letter from an unknown woman, reliving in flashback his decade long romance with Lisa (Joan Fontaine), a naïve young woman who fell in love with him and had his child. As morning approaches, Stephan finishes the letter and goes to meet his destiny. Crafted to perfection by director Max Ophüls, with fine performances by Fontaine and Jourdan, a script by Howard Koch (Co-author of Casablanca) and beautiful camerawork by Franz Planer, Letter from an Unknown Woman is a lush and bittersweet love story.


The great Bette Davis stars as Leslie Crosbie, the wife of a Singapore plantation manager who shoots a man in what she claims is self-defence. Her husband hires a lawyer to defend her, but as the case unfolds doubt is cast upon her story. Based on a short story and play by W. Somerset Maugham and nominated for 7 Oscars, including Bette Davis's fourth nomination for Best Actress, The Letter is a tale of passion, murder and blackmail.

See our Film Notes for this film (click tab, above left). We also have a set of notes on the star, Bette Davis, HERE.

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