Love Letters (1945 film)
|Directed by||William Dieterle|
|Produced by||Hal B. Wallis|
|Written by||Ayn Rand|
|Music by||Victor Young|
|Editing by||Anne Bauchens|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||101 minutes|
Love Letters is a 1945 film adapted by Ayn Rand from the novel Pity My Simplicity by Christopher Massie. It was directed by William Dieterle and stars Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Ann Richards, Cecil Kellaway, Gladys Cooper and Anita Louise. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including a Best Actress in a Leading Role nomination for Jones.
Alan Quinton (Joseph Cotten), a soldier in Italy during World War II, has been writing letters for his friend Roger Morland (Robert Sully), a man who admits he "never had any standards, manners or taste." Alan has never met Victoria Remington, but regards her as a "pin-up girl of the spirit," to whom he can express feelings he's never expressed in person. He realizes that Victoria has fallen in love with the letters and is concerned that she will be disappointed by the real Roger.
When he returns home, Alan learns that Roger has died. When he tries to look up Victoria he is told that she too has died, and he learns that Roger's death was a murder. At a party he meets and falls in love with a mysterious woman named Singleton (Jennifer Jones), who may hold the key to these deaths, but is suffering from amnesia. The subsequent plot follows Singleton's effort to regain her past, and Alan's efforts to find out what the real story of the murder was.
- Jennifer Jones – Singleton / Victoria Morland
- Joseph Cotten – Allen Quinton
- Ann Richards – Dilly Carson
- Cecil Kellaway – Mac
- Gladys Cooper – Beatrice Remington
- Anita Louise – Helen Wentworth
- Robert Sully – Roger Morland
- Reginald Denny – Defense counsel Phillips
- Ernest Cossart – Bishop
- Byron Barr – Derek Quinton
Adaptation and production
Rand's screenplay of Massie's book converted his story into an adaptation of Edmond Rostand's famous play Cyrano de Bergerac. Rand had admired the work since reading it in the original French in her youth. As in Rostand's play, the heroine falls in love with a soldier believing him to be the author of certain love letters that had been written for him by another soldier, including a moving note sent from the front. In Rand's version, a dimension of psychological mystery is added, and the heroine discovers the identity of the true author in time for the protagonists to experience a "happy ending."
The musical score by Victor Young was also nominated for an Oscar, and featured the melody of the hit song "Love Letters," which has been recorded by numerous artists since 1945, including Rosemary Clooney, Dick Haymes, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Jack Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, Shelley Fabares, Elton John and Sinéad O'Connor. The melody or song has been reused in other films, including the Blue Velvet (1986), directed by David Lynch.
Although critical reviews were mostly negative, Love Letters succeeded at the box office. New York Times reviewer Bosley Crowther berated it as "sentimental twaddle", calling Jones' performance "fatuous", Rand's writing "a mucky muddle", and Dieterle's direction "mushy and pretentious".
The movie was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Jennifer Jones), Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White (Hans Dreier, Roland Anderson, Sam Comer, Ray Moyer), Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture and Best Music, Song (Victor Young and Edward Heyman for "Love Letters").
- Heller, Anne C. (2009). Ayn Rand and the World She Made. New York: Doubleday. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-385-51399-9..
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 345..
- Crowther, Bosley (August 27, 1945). "The Screen". The New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
- "Love Letters (1945): Cast, Credits & Awards". The New York Times. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
- Love Letters at the Internet Movie Database
- Love Letters at allmovie
- Love Letters at the TCM Movie Database