"A Letter To Three Wives" Is Released
A Letter to Three Wives is a 1949 film which tells the story of a woman who mails a letter to three women, telling them she has left town with the husband of one of them.
It stars Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern, Kirk Douglas, Paul Douglas (in his first film role), Jeffrey Lynn, and Thelma Ritter. An uncredited Celeste Holm provides the voice of Addie Ross, the unseen woman who authored the title letter.
The movie was adapted by Vera Caspary and Joseph L. Mankiewicz from the novel Letter to Five Wives by John Klempner. It was directed by Mankiewicz, who went on to direct All About Eve the following year.
It won the Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay and was nominated for Best Picture.
Three wives, played by Jeanne Crain, Ann Sothern and Linda Darnell, are about to embark on a boat trip when each receives a letter, written by a mutual friend named Addie, informing her that Addie is about to run off with one of their husbands. In flashback, each wife wonders if it is her marriage that is in jeopardy. Deborah (Crain) recounts her fish-out-of-water relationship with her up-and-coming hubby (Jeffrey Lynn); businesswoman Rita (Sothern) asks herself if she's been too rough on her professorial spouse (Kirk Douglas); and Lora May (Darnell), a girl from (literally) the wrong side of the tracks, questions the security of her marriage to a brash business executive (Paul Douglas). The voice of Addie, who is never seen, is provided by Celeste Holm. Thelma Ritter shows up in a hilarious unbilled bit as a slatternly domestic, while an equally uncredited Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer makes a quick entrance and exit as a bellhop. Written with perception and not a little witty condescension by director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, A Letter to Three Wives won two Oscars ,both for Mankiewicz. Based on a novel by John Klempner, the property was remade for television in 1985, with Ann Sothern back again in a supporting part. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide