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A Letter to Three Wives Reviews

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Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
This movie is both dramatic and suspenseful, while telling four different stories, and I liked the ending too. This is a good movie.

Super Reviewer

January 17, 2009
My favorite Linda Darnell film. It's hard to stand out in a cast that includes such greats as Kirk Douglas, Ann Sothern and Jeanne Crain but she still manages to shine.
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

January 14, 2009
I'd forgotten what a great movie this is! Celeste Holm narrates as Addie Ross, the unseen but effortlessly superior friend of three women (Jeanne Crain, Ann Sothern and Linda Darnell), one of whose husbands Addie claims, in a mischievous letter, to have run off with. But whose husband does she mean?!?! Each adores Addie, and each seems to be acting strangely... Moving to flashback, one for each wife in turn, we see the women quietly upstaged in their domestic bliss by their infuriatingly perfect girlfriend. Linda Darnell stands out from the excellent cast, probably because she gets most of the best lines, but Ann Sothern is just as good. It's nice to see Kirk Douglas taking his place in the ensemble for a change, instead of selfishly chewing the scenery; even when he does explode, in a rant against radio advertising, he does so with relative restraint and his performance is the better for it. Thelma Ritter plays that same part she always plays. As you would expect with Mankiewicz, there's some wonderfully sophisticated dialogue. Celeste Holm's sweetly malicious voiceover, though brief, must qualify as one of cinema's greatest.

Super Reviewer

April 8, 2008
"a letter to three wives" is a dialogue-driven psychological drama by joseph l. mankiewicz who contributes to the legendary bette davis classic "all about eve" estrogenic piece which is highly empathetic with female audience.

the story whirls around a striking socialite named addie ross who writes a note to her three best friends in the town that she's gonna elope with one of their husbands....and that leads to the flashbacks of these three women's private jealous animosity and weakening apprehensions that their spouses all seem to have a deep crush on exactly whose husband becomes the prey of addie's feminine magnetism?

to anchor the mystic charm of addie ross who is also the narrator, she remains abscent through the whole flick, and audience picture her poises of grace thru the three women's bitter reactions just as hitchcock's rebecca never reveals we witness the typical gender interactions of three housholds. jeanne crain's being self-abased by her rural upbringing, and her fear of being lacklustered by addie ross....ann sothern's mercenery irreconcilbility with her idealistic husband kirk douglas since she's much less thoughtful and refined by taste than the witty addie ross...then the sultry linda darnell with an awareness of her slum-bred background, aspiring to marry her wealthy boss by playing titilating "hard-to-get", still assured as darnell, she's being emulated by the addie ross with class her husband values.

most women share a sort of envious intimidation from their so called "the beautiful friend" whom they criticize behind or gossip about with sour sarcasm when it comes to any female's living experiences, especially your significant the other keeps praising upon that fair confidante of yours, then a sense of vulnerability strikes since you're too infatuated with the man but too stubborn to admit.

linda darnell's tale is most riveting with her lofty glamour as the ragged woman with pride, and thelma ritter plays the wise-cracking maid with an acid tongue. ritter, along with younger fresher kirk douglas, is the scene-stealer who has the "it" to grapple a smirk from the audience.

"a letter to three wives" is mankiewicz's another success examplification that dialogues and sheer performances make the feature work.

Super Reviewer

June 20, 2007
incisive and fun, Linda Darnell is fantastic, Thelma Ritter and Connie Gilchrist make a great team.

Super Reviewer

March 16, 2006
[font=Century Gothic]In "A Letter to Three Wives", notorious divorcee Addie Ross has moved out of a suburb but not before she sends a note to her three friends(Ann Sothern, Linda Darnell & Jeanne Crain) that she took a memento along with her - one of their husbands(Kirk Douglas, Paul Douglas & Jeffrey Lynn). But all of the women are out of town at a charity picnic and thus incommunicado(ah, the good old days before cellphones) for most of the day and are simply left to ponder which one of their husbands has left them.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"A Letter to Three Wives" has a classic setup, great cast(especially Thelma Ritter), and well-written dialogue but the flashbacks unfold slowly, making the payoff not as strong as it should have been. Overall, the movie is a good look at social mobility and domesticity after World War II.[/font]
John B

Super Reviewer

November 21, 2013
A very entertaining film. Each marriage involves a different relationship with different men. How does an accusation of potential adultery get treated in each circumstance? Will the infamous Addie end up with any of the men?
February 17, 2011
Shockingly good after a banal opening, this one really gains steam as it goes along. Kirk Douglas is probably the highlight, but the direction definitely deserves some respect, as well.
January 24, 2008
Personally it was just ok for me. I really like older movies and sometimes really get in the mood to watch them. This one didn't really do it for me but I enjoyed Jeanne Crain, Kirk Douglas, Ann Sothern, and Linda Darnell's performances. It was a little intriguing trying to guess which of the three wive's husbands had left her for another woman (who was the author of the so called "letter" and narator of the movie) which you had to guess at pretty much the whole movie. I was a little bored with parts of the story.
February 2, 2010
This is such a great movie with a wonderfully original premise: three women read a letter that a close friend of theirs wrote to them. She states she has run away with one of their husbands. Based on that, you never lose interest in the film because you want to know the outcome. The ending is excellent. The cast is superb, with Linda Darell doing the best, but Jeanne Crain and Ann Sothern are also terrific. A fascinating classic.
February 23, 2008
A strong ensemble cast, Thema Ritter is. of course a stand-out, good Kirk Douglas, early Film work.
One friend runs away with another's husband, but none of them will know which of their husbands until the end of the day .
It's a witty Comedy/Drama as the women try to figure out which of thier husbands it is who has left.
December 24, 2007
Awesome oldies movie, tale is well told and keeps you on your seat wondering who the letter is actually to right to the very end!!
July 29, 2007
As three women board a boat for an afternoon of volunteer work, they are given a letter stating a "friend" of theirs has run off with one of their husbands. Each woman thinks back on their lives and wonders if it could be hers. Great acting.
October 9, 2006
Good 3-part story. Linda Darnell gets to play something more than just a pretty face. Celese Holm is used perfectly.
March 13, 2014
Glamorous and sophisticated almost on the level of All About Eve, with fine acting, strong humor, superb dialogue, beautiful romantic ending and fully fleshed out characters, A Letter to Three Wives also has very progressive flashback approach to a story which, although a bit uneven, is polished and it keeps things interesting making the film seem like a minor classic, a deserved Best Picture nominee and an undeservedly forgotten gem.
July 8, 2013
Chick flick that most guys can appreciate. Smart script, well shot and edited. Celeste Holm can write me anytime.
July 24, 2012
Fantastic storyline, which tells a story about three woman about to embark on a journey into the past, when they receive a letter stating that one of their husbands run off with their best friend. Very decent acting and proper use of retrospections makes the movie enjoyable and heartfelt.
June 11, 2012
Great set-up that keeps you riveted until the end.
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