The Letter

Synopsis: The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense. Her poise, graciousness and stoicism impress nearly everyone who meets her. Her husband is certainly without doubt; so is the district officer; while her lawyer's doubts may be a natural skepticism. But this is Singapore and the resentful natives will have no compunction about undermining this accused murderess. A letter in her hand turns up and may prove her undoing.
Director(s): William Wyler
Production: MGM Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
95 min

That's Mr. Hammond.

Come inside.

Do you know where

the new district officer lives?

Yes, missy.

Send someone for him.

Tell him there's been an accident

and Mr. Hammond's dead.

Yes, missy.

And get word to Mr. Crosbie.

He's out somewhere

on the number four plantation.

No can telephone tonight.

Offices are all closed.

Well, send a boy for him.

Tell him to come at once.

Yes, missy.

What are you doing here,

all of you?

Go away. Go away, I tell you.

Mr. Withers! Mr. Withers!

Please stop at Lower Crossway.

I take shortcut.


Fred, can we get

this whole shipment on these cars?

-Sure we will, sir.

-If not, we can use the two big lorries.

What's the matter?

Mr. Crosbie,

Mr. Hammond has been shot.

What? What's that you said?

Mr. Hammond is dead.

Missy say hurry.

Fred, get to the village as fast as you can.

Telephone Joyce in Singapore.

-Mr. Howard Joyce?

-Yes, the lawyer.

Tell him to meet me

at Lower Crossway immediately.


-And hurry with the shipment to Singapore.

She's got to be on board by 6.

-Where's my wife?

-She locked herself in.

She wouldn't see me until you came.

Mr. Withers, I'm Howard Joyce.

-How do you do?

-Let me in.

Leslie, darling, it's Robert.

What's happened?

Leslie, what's happened?

Didn't they tell you?

They said Hammond was killed.

Is he still there?

I had your head boy

remove the body to a shed.

He tried to make love to me,

and I shot him.


Oh, Robert, I'm so glad you've come.

There, darling.

Hold me tight. I'm so frightened.

There's nothing to be frightened about.

It'll be all right.

Leslie, darling, it'll be all right.

Mr. Withers, I hope you understand

that I couldn't see anyone...

-...until my husband came.

-I understand, Mrs. Crosbie.

Howard, how nice of you to come.

Naturally, I'd want to be here if I can help.

-Then you will help us?

-Of course I will. In every way I can.

-You're a dear.


How's Dorothy?

She's very well

and anxious to see you.

-Has her niece arrived from England?

-Adele. Charming girl. She came last week.

Here, you better be resting.

I do feel dreadfully faint.

Come and lie down, darling.

I'll get you something to drink.

I'm sorry to be so tiresome.

-You're being very brave.

-How long have you been here?

About an hour. One of the Crosbie

houseboys came to fetch me.

-Was Hammond dead?

-Oh, yes. He was just riddled with bullets.


-Here's the revolver.

All six chambers are empty.

Here, you two.

Better have a drink yourselves.

Thanks, but I'm afraid I shouldn't.

I'll have one, Bob.

I'm on duty of a sort, you know.

Feeling any better?

Much better, thank you.

Mrs. Crosbie, I know it sounds brutal,

but I'm afraid it's my duty... ask you some questions.

I think that can wait until my wife--

It's all right, really.

I feel perfectly well now.

Then suppose you tell us

exactly what happened, Leslie.

-I'll try.

-Take your time, Mrs. Crosbie.

Remember, we're all friends here.

You've been so patient.

Well, as you know, Robert was

spending the night in Singapore.

I never mind being alone.

-Planter's wife gets used to that.

-My dear.

I had dinner rather late

and started working on my lace.

I don't know how long I'd been working

when suddenly I heard a footstep outside.

Someone came up on the veranda

and said, "Good evening. Can I come in?"

I was startled because I hadn't heard

a car drive up.

Hammond left his car

a quarter-mile down the road.

Your houseboy noticed it

as we were driving here.

Probably didn't want anyone

to hear him.

At first I couldn't tell who it was.

Rate this script:(4.33 / 3 votes)

W. Somerset Maugham

William Somerset Maugham, CH ( MAWM; 25 January 1874 – 16 December 1965), better known as W. Somerset Maugham, was a British playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest-paid author during the 1930s.After both his parents died before he was 10, Maugham was raised by a paternal uncle who was emotionally cold. Not wanting to become a lawyer like other men in his family, Maugham eventually trained and qualified as a physician. The initial run of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth (1897), sold out so rapidly that Maugham gave up medicine to write full-time. During the First World War he served with the Red Cross and in the ambulance corps, before being recruited in 1916 into the British Secret Intelligence Service, for which he worked in Switzerland and Russia before the October Revolution of 1917. During and after the war, he travelled in India and Southeast Asia; these experiences were reflected in later short stories and novels. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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