The Letter (1940) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense, but a letter in her own hand may prove her undoing.

  • 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.

  • Leslie Crosbie, the wife of a Malayan rubber plantation owner, shoots and kills a neighbor she claims had dropped in to see her unexpectedly and made improper advances towards her. Her husband Robert was away for the night and no one has any treason to disbelieve her. They must go to Singapore however where the Attorney General decides she must stand trial for murder. She has strong support from the British expatriate community but her solicitor Howard Joyce learns from his clerk that Leslie had in fact written to the dead man asking him to visit her that evening. The original of the letter is in the hands of the dead man's Eurasian widow and she wants a hefty amount to part with it. Although she survives the trial, Leslie must pay a far greater price in the end.

  • While her husband inspects his rubber planatation, Leslie Crosbie murders Geoffrey Hammond. His widow has a letter written by Leslie asking him to meet her as her lover the night of the murder. Leslie can buy the letter but must come for it herself. Learning that he is broke from paying for the letter, Leslie's husband next learns its contents. He forgives her. Leslie walks into the garden where the widow appears with a dagger.

  • In Singapore, Leslie Crosbie, the wife of the administrator of a plantation field of a rubber company, shoots six times in Geoffrey Hammond.and pleads self-defense to her husband Robert Crosbie and her lawyer and friend of the family Howard Joyce. The case seems to be easy and simple, but a letter written by Leslie to Geoffrey and in the hand of the Hammond's widow may sentence Leslie to death by hanging. When the widow decides to sell the letter for US$10,000.00, Howard faces a dilemma between his friendship and his career.


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