A Letter To Three Wives (1949)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5

USA, 1949.  Twentieth Century Fox.  Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, adaptation by , based on the Cosmopolitan Magazine novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Three women (, Jeanne Crain, Ann Sothern) who are good friends all get a letter on the same day from a woman (voiced by Celeste Holm) claiming that she has run away with one of their husbands.  They have all just boarded a day’s outing on a boat cruise and so are unable to get home and find out which of them has been abandoned until the day’s outing is complete.  Throughout the film all three of the main characters relive many of their more memorable moments in their marriages, working towards the revelation of just which of them has really abandoned his spouse. Featuring an early performance by Kirk Douglas as one of the possible infidels, this is a terrific classic that benefits from Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s shrewd talent with dialogue. Normally a story like this would be relegated to a forgettable housewife soap opera, but Mankiewicz believes in these women’s stories being just as important as any cutthroat drama about businessmen, and directs a classy, important film in order to say so.

Academy Awards:  Best Director (Joseph L. Mankiewicz); Best Screenplay
Nomination:  Best Picture


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