A Letter to Three Wives Reviews
To begin with, Mankiewicz's screenplay of Vera Caspary's story adaptation is brilliance. It exemplifies the quick-wittedness and brilliance that came to full fruition in All About Eve. The entire premise of the story is utter brilliance and the entire voiceover is absolutely nailed by Celeste Holm, one of my favorite supporting actresses of the late 40s and early 50s.
As Holm's voiceover performance indicates, the acting is pretty much uniformly brilliant. Ann Sothern is incredibly charming and is essentially a pure joy to watch while also adding a great amount of layering. Kirk Douglas is likewise great (as always) as her husband, portraying the self-confidence issues of his character very well without ever over-doing them. Paul Douglas is charming in an odd sort of way, but it works quite well for his character. Linda Darnell, as Douglass's husband, though, steals the show completely. She should've won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her astonishing work here. As it is, she wasn't even nominated, but that's how it goes. She layers her character magnificently and her lines seem to roll off her tongue. Jeanne Crain is really the only weak link in the film, though her work here is better than her Oscar-nominated work this year for Pinky. I guess her second half, portrayed by Jeffrey Lynn, is another weak link
Overall, this is a just about perfect film. It's somewhat melodramatic, but Mankiewicz's fascinating screenplay makes up for any semi-lackluster qualities of the story.