I probably don't need to remind you about the consternation it caused in Postable nation. We remember it well---or at least what we could read, or tediously attempt to translate in it---and only just now had our fears put to rest about its contents.
So I don't think it was any surprise the confusion the letter caused for the most discerning fans, the least of which was the "Dear" that preceded "Holly" in From Paris With Love, but was not present in what I like to call "the original letter".
I spent a lot of time with that original letter. Enough to transcribe part of the first paragraph based on screenshots from "The Treasure Box." It took a lot of Googling to predict sentences based on word configurations, and a lot of attempts to sharpen the images to make the text as clear as possible. You can see what I came up with below, which is by no means complete:
So much time has passed since we last shared a moment. I p...much in fact. But I periodically? [find] myself in circumstances which [cause?]... my gentleman like ways and......tested to my very...
I have placed...of my very...after..."
No wonder Postables lost sleep over this letter. It reveals absolutely nothing about Oliver's heart at the time, it's simply an introductory paragraph!
But the tone this letter seems to take ends up being MUCH different than the final version, even from these first few lines. It seems to me that this letter might have alluded to Oliver's evolving feelings towards Shane, hence the "circumstances" in which his "gentleman like ways" might be tested. I distinctly see the word "gentleman", as it's one of the last visible words in the shot, but I NEVER heard it read in the final letter.
Try comparing this direction with that which the final letter took.
Since I lack the equipment to grab the video, I've transcribed the letter below based on the dialogue from the film:
So much time has passed. And there is so much to say and perhaps little time left to say it. I currently find myself in a position where my life may be at risk. There was never a better example of that than the night we met.
I suppose I should not have been surprised. I have a feeling that from the day we met, you began leaving me.What I knew of the world could never compete with your dreams of discovering it for yourself, of traveling the uncharted course, of living the bohemian life of artist and poet.
If you have left me behind forever, I will accept that. But if you regret your decision and simply do not know how to find your way home, then come back. I am here willing to try again, to see your dreams through your eyes.
Until I hear from you, I remain faithfully.
Here's why where the original letter still matters to me:
The difference in content obviously doesn't matter now that this chapter of the story is closed. And I think we can all agree that's a good thing!
But I know for sure that there was another version of that letter to Holly floating around that went unused---one that Eric wrote while shooting those vault scenes. And because I'm a lot like Shane, the curiosity about what Eric wrote is still killing me a year later! To make matters worse, Eric might have had another take on where Oliver was at in his personal growth at that time, a view that's now lost to Postable history. I kind of like to know where actors see their characters going and how it might be different from the person who created the character.
But, hey, I'm just an obsessed fan.
Did you know Eric wrote a real letter to Holly in the vault?