A Letter to Three Wives

1949 infidelity-mystery

Rating: 17/20

Plot: A whore writes the titular letter to the titular wives, claiming that she has run off with one of their husbands. Each woman considers the possibility, digging through her mind to find signs that that her husband is the one who's boinking their nemesis, the likely hot-to-trot Addie Ross.

I suspect Cory recommended this one to me because of Kirk Douglas's speech (and when is this guy not good, by the way) about teachers. Or maybe he's heard of my love for the vocoder, the device used to distort the thought-bubble voices of the three wives, weirdly mangling otherwise-ordinary lines like "Why didn't George go fishing?" Or maybe he just recommended it because it's a really cool movie, one I likely wouldn't have caught without his suggestion unless it was on the motel television at 4:30 in the morning or something. I liked the clever structure and the voyeuristic approach to the subject matter, especially with an almost creepy opener with a wandering camera. The characters are all developed so realistically, and like a mystery, I kept trying to put the pieces together in my head and figure out which husband is the unfaithful one. Or, as I was hoping, all three of the husbands leading to this gloriously raunchy menage a quartet during a steamy denouement. Here's a movie that I'm surprised hasn't been updated by Hollywood. Actually, maybe it already has. But I don't think it would work. A contemporary version of this would fail because it would clobber you over the head with big emotions where this one delicately paints pictures of these wives' guts. A remake would also likely be overly cynical, soap-operatic, and soundtrack laden, too. For whatever reason, this recalled one of my favorites, Unfaithfully Yours.

Good recommendation, Cory!

1 comment:

cory said...

I'm glad you liked it. This was made by Mankiewicz the year before he made "All About Eve", and although more serious, it is also very literate and well paced, with great acting. An 18 for me.

I am at work, and running out of films to recommend off the top of my head. I would like to choose a film meant for your whole family called "Fly Away Home", if all of you ever have the time to watch anything anymore.