A Letter to Three Wives


Drama / Romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 94%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 86%
IMDb Rating 7.7 10 8463

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
January 09, 2021 at 12:42 AM


Kirk Douglas as George Phipps
Celeste Holm as Addie Ross
Linda Darnell as Lora Mae Hollingsway
Jeanne Crain as Deborah Bishop
946.88 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 43 min
P/S 3 / 30

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by llltdesq 9 / 10

Excellent cast, but an even better script

You have here a situation that is rarer than you might imagine-a top-notch cast with an even better script. This is a delightful film with fine performances all around and some of the best dialogue! Strangely, none of the cast were nominated for their work here, although three were nominated for other performances in other films they did that year. The script deservedly won an Oscar as did the director. This is a joy to watch and the voice-over narration is perfectly handled throughout. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by blanche-2 8 / 10

another winner from Joseph Mankiewicz

One of Hollywood's best directors, Joseph Mankiewicz, who gave us "All About Eve," had a previous winner with "A Letter to Three Wives," starring Linda Darnell, Jeanne Crain, Ann Sothern, Kirk Douglas, Paul Douglas, Jeffrey Lynn, Thelma Ritter, and Connie Gilchrist.

The never-seen Addie Ross (voice of Celeste Holm) has run off with the husband of one of her friends - whose? Three women look back over their marriages, each realizing she could be the one who will not come home to anyone that evening.

Linda Darnell was involved with Mankiewicz during the filming of "A Letter to Three Wives" in what would be a devastating relationship for her. Her story is the most fun and interesting of the film. Lolamae works in one of Porter Hollingsway's department stores, and she manages to nab the boss by playing her cards just right. He assumes throughout their marriage that she's with him because of his money. The funniest parts of the film take place in the home Lolamae shares with her mother (Connie Gilchrist) and sister. They live next to the train tracks and when a train goes by, the house rattles and shakes. Each time this happens, everyone just waits patiently for the train to go by as they rattle right along with it and then takes up where they left off as if nothing happened. When Lolamae and Hollingsway announce their engagement, Gilchrist cries out, "Bingo!" and faints! Thelma Ritter plays Gilchrist's best friend. The two provide some of the best moments in the film - Ritter is also the maid in the home of Ann Sothern and Kirk Douglas. Lolamae and Paul are the most fully drawn couple, and the one the audience is most invested in.

As with "All About Eve," the female characters are the focal point. Sothern is married to Kirk Douglas - he's a schoolteacher and she writes for radio, so it's intellect vs. the dumbing down of America fight; Jeanne Crain plays a woman who married upper class Jeffrey Lynn after leaving the service, and she originally feels out of her element among his tight-knit group of country club members. All of these women have to contend with the much admired (by males) Addie Ross, who remembers their men's birthdays, dresses beautifully, sends wonderful gifts, and has loads of class.

When it was pointed out to Mankiewicz that Jeanne Crain had played a character named Deborah in two films for him, he replied, "I don't like the name Deborah, and I don't like Jeanne Crain." Hers is the weakest storyline, but she is beautiful and gives a good performance. Lynn as her husband has very little to do. Sothern and Douglas make a spirited couple - he's at the height of his good looks, and Sothern makes the most of her witty dialogue.

But in the end, the focus is on Darnell and Paul Douglas. Darnell is stunningly beautiful and, because of this, isn't often thought of as a great actress. She brings a dry humor, sexiness, and vulnerability to the role of a woman who on the surface appears clever and a little too street smart for her own good. Douglas is a wonder, a complete natural - he plays his role as if Porter could just as easily be a hardware salesman as a filthy rich department store owner. He's both endearing and sympathetic, with his dumb, lovable face and his immaculately tailored suits. While they don't look like a perfect couple, their chemistry and what's underneath their bantering dialogue makes them one.

Now, which husband ran off with Addie? See if you can figure it out during this highly entertaining and well-acted film.

Reviewed by theowinthrop 10 / 10

How dare he claim to be an expert on writing and not know "Myrtle Tippett"!

This gem was shown twice last night on Channel 13, and I caught the second viewing.

Joseph Mankiewicz is a remarkably maverick director from Hollywood. Unlike many who concentrated on special spectacles and effects (Griffiths, De Mille) or on camera use and shots (Welles) or on genre mythology (Ford) or suspense (Hitchcock, Lang), Mankiewicz loved the literary wordplay of his scripts. The best of these were his two finest films A LETTER TO THREE WIVES and ALL ABOUT EVE (but it also emerges in other films, like CLEOPATRA or SLEUTH or PEOPLE WILL TALK).

The plot here is simple. In a small town there are three couples: Jeffrey Lynn and Jeanne Crain, Kirk Douglas and Ann Southern, and Paul Douglas and Linda Darnell. They all apparently married for love, but in the background is a malevolent rival to the ladies named "Addie Ross" (we never see her, but the character's voice is Celeste Holm). She is perfection to the three men: charming, witty, intelligent, beautiful. She grew up with the three men, and has kept them on her invisible chains ever since. The three wives are not like Addie. Crain was from a farm. Southern has an intellectual background like her teaching husband Douglas, but she writes radio scripts (very successfully too) so she makes more money than he - and senses he resents this. Darnell is from the wrong side of the tracks (literally on the tracks - her house shakes every time the train runs past it). Darnell has married the richest of the three men, Douglas, who owns the largest department store chain in the state. All three women are aware of the effect the very name of "Addie Ross" has on their men, and they hate her (and, as she is aware of this and that they are married to HER men she hates them equally).

They have gone on a picnic with some children, when a message arrives from Addie for them. It basically says that she is running off with one of their husbands. The film follows their private thoughts as they go through the problems and uncertainties of their marriages.

The film could have been far darker than it is - and some of the scenes actually are dark, particularly some very serious arguments between Kirk Douglas and Southern, and Paul Douglas and Darnell. But the thing that is great about this film is the social pressures and reality of the problems in the three marriages. Lynn is too blind about what he accepts as his "silver spoon" upbringing to realize how his poor wife Crain just barely feels she fits in (her friendships with Darnell and Southern help her in this depression). Kirk Douglas certainly represents a point of view regarding the value of education and culture that is at once admirable and blind. He teaches at a college, so he (rightly) concentrates on Keats, Shelley, and Byron, but he is upset that the breadwinner is Southern who writes popular pap for the radio. The highpoint of the confrontation here is a disastrous dinner party where Douglas learns he knows nothing about modern culture (he is lectured by that marvelous controlling dragon Florence Bates, a radio executive) because he failed to know the great "Myrtle Tippett" who is America's leading radio script writer!. Bates reveals this after breaking a new recording of some classical music that "Addie" sent to Douglas.

As for Porter and Lora Mae Holligsway, the story of their courtship and marriage (and the mutual pummeling they are giving each other over three years) is in some ways the best section of the film. They are crazy about each other, but Porter (Paul Douglas) was hurt in a previous marriage that failed, and likes being at ease and free. Lora Mae (Darnell) is not willing to be his sidekick romantic partner - she has to have a ring because in her social class that is a final sign of security and making it. They finally agree to marriage, but she erroneously thinks this is how he pays to sleep with her, and he thinks that she agrees to this as a business proposition.

The film ends pretty well on the right note, with one of the males showing a strength of character that one did not fully expect, and his wife showing a matching strength of character that is fully deserved. Best of all is the final shot - wherein "Addie" shows the full effect of all her "perfection" and all her scheming.

In a way "Addie" is a distant blood cousin (and I emphasize "blood") to "Eve Harrington" in ALL ABOUT EVE. But "Eve" (at the end) has achieved her goals, whereas "Addie" did not. But both are still alone at the end ("Eve" does have "Addison" - though he is wisely resizing her up and finding her wanting). Somehow one can make a case that "Addie" and "Eve" are soul mates - they are both so locked into their roles they have to play them all the time!

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