A Letter to Three Wives

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Traditional wisdom has Mankiewicz as more writer than director, but consider the marvellously cinematic opening of A Letter to Three Wives: shots of a prosperous town and its stately avenues of rich men's houses, all placidly awaiting the start of the country club season, as the venomously honeyed voice of an unseen female narrator (beautifully done by Celeste Holm) begins spinning a web of speculation and suspicion round three married women, shortly to be completed by their receipt of a poisonous letter indicating that the narrator has run away with one of the husbands. With the three wives trapped for the day supervising a children's picnic, flashbacks start exploring their marital worries, perceptively probing sensitive areas of social and cultural unease. Glitteringly funny at one end of the scale (Kirk Douglas and Ann Sothern), dumbly touching at the other (Paul Douglas and Linda Darnell), it's absolutely irresistible.

Release details

Duration: 103 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Joseph L Mankiewicz
Screenwriter: Joseph L Mankiewicz
Cast: Kirk Douglas
Ann Sothern
Linda Darnell
Paul Douglas
Jeanne Crain
Jeffrey Lynn
Thelma Ritter
Florence Bates

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|2
1 person listening
Leona Luk

The commentary by the sweet and salty Addie Ross, along with her always unseen yet felt presence, gives this film a real bite. The three wives of the title are interesting themselves, as is their relationships with their husbands, however without Addie Ross, this film would not exist so it is fitting that she is the most dynamic of the characters. A certainly enjoyable affair.

Leona Luk

The commentary by the sweet and salty Addie Ross, along with her always unseen yet felt presence, gives this film a real bite. The three wives of the title are interesting themselves, as is their relationships with their husbands, however without Addie Ross, this film would not exist so it is fitting that she is the most dynamic of the characters. A certainly enjoyable affair.