16 months ago I posted a riff about the Fox Home Video Bluray of Joseph L. Mankiewicz‘s A Letter To Three Wives (’49). I was discussing the film with a friend today, and as this piece didn’t get much action I figured I’d give it a slight rewrite (it wasn’t well shaped or carefully written enough) and give it another go:
“I first saw this…oh, sometime in my teens. Even in that early stage of aesthetic development I remember admiring the brilliant writing and especially the way it pays off. Nominally it’s a woman’s drama about marital insecurity. The plot is about three suburban wives (Jeanne Crain‘s, Linda Darnell, Ann Southern‘s) who’ve just learned before going on a kind of picnic that one of their husbands has “run away” with sophisticated socialite Addie Ross, who narrates the film from time to time (the voice belongs to Celeste Holm) but is never seen.
“But that’s just the story or clothesline upon which Wives hangs its real agenda. For this is primarily an examination of social mores, values and ethics among middle-class marrieds in late 1940s America.