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Intellect

Library archive to show Bette Davis in 1940 film "The Letter"

Multi Academy Award winning actress Bette Davis stars in "The Letter," the 1940 Warner Bros. film directed by William Wyler and adapted from Somerset Maugham's play. It will be shown at the Harold B. Lee Library auditorium Friday (Nov. 22) at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.).

Admission is free but seating is limited. Children ages 8 and older are welcome. No food or drink is permitted in the auditorium. James D’Arc, curator of the BYU Motion Picture Archive, will introduce this one-time showing with behind-the-scenes details of the making of "The Letter." The BYU Motion Picture Archive Film Series is sponsored by L. Tom Perry Special Collections, the Friends of the Harold B. Lee Library and Dennis & Linda Gibson.

After Academy Award wins for her performances in "Dangerous" and "Jezebel," Bette Davis successfully tackled the role of the wife of an Indonesian plantation owner's wife who is accused of killing her lover, with the only evidence being a letter implicating her guilt in the murder. Veteran stage and screen actor Herbert Marshall plays Davis's long-suffering husband and James Stephenson turns in a critically praised performance as her attorney. Somerset Maugham's play was taken from a true life murder case that occurred in 1911 in Kuala Lumpur where a British school headmistress was convicted of murdering a man with whom she was accused of being intimate, but who also had a Chinese mistress. Her trial, conviction, and appeal became a major legal incident involving British and Chinese partisans.

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