I was fortunate to obtain a copy of the 1929 film THE LETTER which stars Jeanne Eagels in the only film in which she appears that is still extant at least as far as I know. She only made one other sound film. Shortly after the film was made she died of a drug overdose.
There is a lot can be said about this relatively short film. I think it is a stand out performance all around and the fact that Eagels was nominated (posthumously) for an Academy award is just one item. She lost to Mary Pickford in COQUETTE which I also have seen and as often happens, the better actress did not win. The film also was the introduction role in American film for two British actors, Reginald Owen and Herbert Marshall. Both these gentlemen went on to a long and successful movie career. Most classic movie fans have seen the 1940 Bette Davis film of the same name which was also very good, but it was hampered in telling the story by the then existing production code that would not allow the ending as it was written. Not so for the 1929 production which is another mark in its favour such as the role of the Chinese mistress which was of course changed to protect the public in the 1940 version. Interesting to note that Herbert Marshall was in both versions of the film but played different parts.
As for Miss Eagels, she does a very believable portrayal and one can only wish that she had made more films before coming to the tragic early end of her life.