The 13Th Letter

  • 1951
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Mystery

In a small town in French Canada, Smith, the wife of doctor Boyer, receives a letter accusing her of having an affair with young doctor Rennie. Soon more poison-pen letters begin to appear elsewhere, all signed with the mysterious pseudonym "Raven," and everyone in town starts to suspect everyone else of being the writer. One letter informs a shell-shocked...read more

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In a small town in French Canada, Smith, the wife of doctor Boyer, receives a letter accusing her of having an affair with young doctor Rennie. Soon more poison-pen letters begin to appear elsewhere, all signed with the mysterious pseudonym "Raven," and everyone in town starts to suspect

everyone else of being the writer. One letter informs a shell-shocked veteran that he is dying of cancer, causing the distraught man to commit suicide. Suspicion falls on a nurse, who is imprisoned, but the letters continue to be delivered, one falling out of the choir loft while everyone is at

church. Boyer assumes control of the investigation and analyzes the handwriting of everyone in the choir, but he is unable to determine the culprit. Finally it is Rennie who learns the identity of "The Raven." It is Smith, who wrote the first letter when the aloof Rennie failed to notice her

attraction to him. The real villain, however, is Boyer, who discovered what his wife had done and forced her to continue to write the letters in order to prove some strange theory of his about the "insanity of two." As Boyer himself writes a final letter, the vengeful mother of the suicidal

veteran slips up behind him and slits the good doctor's throat from ear to ear. While not nearly as good as the original, Henri-George Clouzot's THE RAVEN (LE CORBEAU), Preminger's film does have some power and a great deal of suspense. Boyer returned to the screen, after a three-year absence, no

longer as a romantic idol but rather as a character actor, and embarked on a second career almost as satisfying as his earlier one. His performance and those of the other leads are convincing, especially Rennie's idealistic but solitary doctor and Darnell's clubfooted would-be seductress. For most

of the lesser roles, Preminger cast unknowns, most of whom do a creditable job.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: In a small town in French Canada, Smith, the wife of doctor Boyer, receives a letter accusing her of having an affair with young doctor Rennie. Soon more poison-pen letters begin to appear elsewhere, all signed with the mysterious pseudonym "Raven," and ev… (more)

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