Film Friday: A Letter to Three Wives

Letter 2I do love a juicy 1950s soap opera, and if A Letter to Three Wives were any more sudsy, you’d have to pop it in the dryer for a spin!

Three young women meet at the town dock to take a boatload of underprivileged children on an outing. Just before the boat pulls away from the dock, a messenger delivers a letter to all of them from Addie Ross, the local femme fatale. She taunts them by writing that she left town with one of their husbands, but doesn’t say which.

Each wife flashes back to what is wrong with her own marriage, imagining why her husband may have run off with Addie.

Deborah Bishop (Jeanne Crain) is the naive small town girl, who has married into the country club set where she flounders in her husband’s social whirl.

Rita Phipps (Ann Sothern) is the career woman — aren’t we modern? — who writes schlock for radio dramas and earns more than her school teacher husband. Despite his wife’s pushing him to enter a more lucrative occupation, he prefers to remain in the classroom.

And of course we have tough-as-nails Lora Mae, played by Linda Darnell, constantly battling with a husband who was once her boss. Lora Mae is not just from the wrong side of the tracks; her house sits right next to them, and it’s a hoot to watch everyone and everything vibrate in the kitchen when a train thunders past the window.

Letter 1Although the movie seems a little dated to modern sensibilities, it won Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay. The suspense of which husband ran off will keep you guessing until the end, and sometimes even past that point. Is the story told the true one, or was it said to spare the feelings of one young wife? Watch it and decide for yourself!

Film Friday: Do you give A Letter to Three Wives your stamp of approval? 

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4 thoughts on “Film Friday: A Letter to Three Wives

  1. Jacquie Mendenhall says:

    Oh my gosh, this movie couldn’t get more soapy if it were made by Ivory!!!!!! That being said, if I catch it in passing on TCM, I get sucked in to watching part of it again — or all!. Naturally, my fav is Linda Darnell as Lora Mae, (in the terms of the day) ‘now there’s a dame’.

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