Thursday, December 3, 2015

Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)

Today's film is Letter from an Unknown Woman.  I did not find this movie romantic; I think this movie is very creepy!

This woman is a stalker! If you gender-reversed everyone in this film, there would be no doubt about it.  But people forgive her because she's a woman.  So it starts off with Stefan the musician getting ready to flee to avoid a duel.  Just then, he receives a letter and begins to read it.  So now we hear the woman's tale through flashbacks.

So the whole movie is her stalking this guy, Stefan. She becomes obsessed with him after listening to him play piano through her walls. She does encounter him in person a few times, but each time he doesn't remember her.  But this does not deter her at all.

Meanwhile, while living with her mom and stepdad, a handsome young soldier starts to date her.  However, she is just stringing him along and rejects his proposal.  She flees back to Stefan's town and gets a job there to be near him.  She does manage to get him into bed at one point.  Then, she does the unimaginable.  Their encounter does result in a baby, but she refuses to name the father.  She never tells Stefan about their son for nine full years.  Not allowing a parent to see or get to know their child is just as bad as a parent abandoning their child.  She is doing a disservice not only to Stefan, but to her son as well.  She has no right to keep her child away from his own father.  What a disgusting individual.

So, now she's a single parent with a young child, and what does she do?   That's right, she marries the handsome soldier who proposed to her years ago.  Way to be a stalker's sloppy seconds, soldier boy.

Then, through no fault of their own, the stalker and her son are exposed to the Typhus bacteria.  As they lay dying in a hospital, she pens the letter expressing her story to Stefan.  She and her son die before Stefan can see or visit either of them.  Stefan decides not to flee his duel, and it turns out his challenger is the stalker's husband.  Very interesting.

This movie disturbed me on so many different levels.  Excellent.  I will give it an 8/10.


  1. This one freaked me out completely. I did not find it romantic at all but creepy as hell. The woman needs help and being presented romantically only encourage other stalkers. For this reason did not like this movie at all.

  2. One thing I like about Joan Fontaine's best movies is how different they are even though she plays pretty much the same timid character. Letter from an Unknown Woman is completely different from the very weird The Constant Nymph, not to mention movies like Rebecca and Suspicion. And then you are really reaching out into different territory in movies like Ivanhoe and The Bigamist.
    I love her so much! She was really great at playing that one character! Joan Fontaine's one of my favorites! I always yell at the TV when people are mean to her. You can bet Louis Jordan got an earful! And Edmond O'Brien! What's the matter with you!