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A Letter to Three Wives (1949)

aka A Letter to Three Wives

"It's a sheer delightful revelation!"

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: 103 mins · English

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Cast:

Small Deborah Bishop
Small Lora Mae Hollingsway
Small Rita Phipps
Small George Phipps
Small Porter Hollingsway
Small Bradford 'Brad' Bishop
Small Georgiana 'Babe' Finney
No_movie_poster
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Crew:

Small Joseph L. Mankiewicz Director
No_movie_poster Sol C. Siegel Production
Small Joseph L. Mankiewicz Writer
No_movie_poster Vera Caspary Other
No_movie_poster Vera Caspary Story Contributor

Taglines:

"It's a sheer delightful revelation!"

"Promise! You won't peek-and-tell... the ending!"

"Addie is the "other woman" all the other women will be talking about!"

"All of them wondered which of them wandered!"

Plot:

Just as they are about to take a group of underprivileged children on a riverboat ride and picnic, Deborah Bishop (Jeanne Crain), Rita Phipps (Ann Sothern), and Lora Mae Hollingsway (Linda Darnell) receive a message from Addie Ross informing them that she has run off with one of their husbands. She, however, leaves them in suspense as to which one. All three marriages are shown in flashback to be strained.

Deborah grew up on a farm. Her first experience with the outside world came when she joined the Navy WAVES during World War II, where she met her future husband Brad (Jeffrey Lynn). When they return to civilian life, Deborah is ill at ease in Brad's upper class social circle. Adding to her insecurity, she learns that everyone expected Brad to marry Addie, whom all three husbands consider practically a goddess.

However, she is comforted by Brad's friend Rita, a career woman who writes stories for sappy radio soap operas. Her husband George (Kirk Douglas), a schoolteacher, feels somewhat emasculated since she earns much more money. He is also disappointed that his wife constantly gives in to the demands of her boss, Mrs. Manleigh (Florence Bates). Rita's flashback is to a dinner party she gave for her boss. She forgot that her husband's birthday was that night, and only remembered when a birthday present, a rare Brahms recording, arrived from Addie Ross.

Lora Mae grew up poor, not just on the "wrong side of the tracks," but literally next to the railroad tracks. (Passing trains shake the family home periodically.) She sets her sights on her older, divorced employer, Porter (Paul Douglas), the wealthy owner of a statewide chain of department stores. Her mother, Ruby Finney (Connie Gilchrist), is unsure what to think of her daughter's ambition, but Ruby's friend (and the Bishops' servant) Sadie (an uncredited Thelma Ritter) approves. Matters come to a head when she sees a picture of Addie Ross on the piano in his home. She tells him she wants her picture on a piano: her own piano in her own home. He tells her he isn't interested in marriage, and she breaks off their romance. However, he loves her too much, and finally gives in and proposes, skipping a New Year's party at Addie's house to do so.

When the women return from the picnic, Rita is overjoyed to find her husband at home. They work out their issues; she promises to not let herself be pushed around by Mrs. Manleigh.

Deborah's houseman gives her a message stating that Brad will not be coming home that night. A heartbroken Deborah goes alone to the dance with the other two couples.

When Porter complains about his wife dancing with another man, she tells him he has no idea how much Lora Mae really loves him, but Porter is certain his wife only sees him as a "cash register." Unable to take it anymore, Deborah gets up to leave, announcing that Brad has run off with Addie. Porter stops her, confessing it was he who started to run away with Addie, but then explains, "A man can change his mind, can't he?" Porter then tells his wife that, with his admission in front of witnesses, she can divorce him and get what she wants. To his shock, Lora Mae claims she did not hear a word he said. He asks her to dance.

The voice of Addie Ross bids all a good night. In the film, she is shown only once and from behind.

Release Dates:

DVD : 2005-02-22