Movies about/starring women. I originally started this list just as a reference for myself, but hopefully others will find it…
A Letter to Three Wives
All of them wondered while one of them wandered!
Just as their boat sets off for the day, Deborah (Crain), Rita (Southern) and Lora Mae (Darnell) receive a letter from the alluring Addie Ross (narrator Celeste Holm) stating she has left town with one of their husbands. Each wife spends the fretful day pondering the state of her marriage and the affection each of their husbands has for Addie. By the end of the day, each woman is convinced she must surely be the betrayed wife.
A very enjoyable sociology exhibit with some great Mankiewicz dialogue and a nice round up of the full range of what was available from old school studio Hollywood at the end of the 40s. Kirk Douglas surprisingly effective as an intellectual, Paul Douglas playing that same overbearing but vulnerable part he plays. Linda Darnell stunning and straightforward and in the end possibly the most interesting person there and Thelma Ritter, as always, spinning up her own little world that is in it's own way just as old school Hollywood manipulating as all the others but somehow deeper and sadder and realer to the extent that, as always, the camera moves from her to the 'star' and you fervently wish it…
A Letter to Three Wives is the type of film that could only work in the late 40's and 50's. Equal parts melodramatic and comedic, it deals with issues of gender and class that don't fit into modern society. But judging it for its time, it's a powerful view on marriage and fidelity with strong work across the board. Best in show is the gorgeous Linda Darnell, who actually gets to do more than just look good in her role.
Does someone monitor the fridge 24 hours a day so the food doesn't spoil?
Wait, so what was Brad doing if he wasn't coming home that night? Was that a happy ending or are we having to ignore something big here? What the fuck?
This film is a funny, mostly decently performed little romance that erred on the side of completely sexist. It had a set up that could be and was mined to explore the insecurities of women in regards to their marriages and in general, but it painted those insecurities entirely in terms of the men in their lives (and a faceless paragon of a perfect off-screen woman) in a way that just didn't work for me.
Of the three women depicted, the second and third come off the worst. The second…
A Letter to Three Wives has a great central story-point, a woman, Addie Ross, has mailed a letter to three women, telling them she has left town with the husband of one of them. The film then presents three lengthy flashbacks, each from one woman's point of view, suggesting that they may be the woman with husband issues. The film is mildly melodramatic in conceit, but it is actually executed with a lot of restraint. It is a light-confection on the surface, with a multitude of wonderful performances, while the underlying mystery makes the film enthralling.
The film has a tremendously zippy script, written by the director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, that has a number of great one-liners; delivered with particular…
An excellent domestic drama where the unseen narrator (Celeste Holm) may or may not have stolen one of the husbands of three friends (Crain, Darnell, Southern). Kirk Douglas is very restrained in the role as one of the chaps, and the flashback sequences work well within the fabric of the uncertainty of each marriage. There's even a talking sink pipe to give a sense of the absurd, and - uncredited- you can enjoy the priceless Thelma Ritter as a maid.
A terrific film: hilarious, poignant and Thelma Ritter to boot.
Be back soon. Linda Darnell's eyes knocked me up, down, and sideways and I'm no longer sure where I am.
Three married women receive a letter from their friend stating that she will run away with one of their husbands while they are away for the day on a boat trip. Told in flashbacks, the three women recall through flashbacks strained events in their marriages to determine if it is her husband. The salient aspects are the film's sharp dialogue and marvelous performances by the entire cast. Joseph L. Mankiewicz who won an Academy Award for best screenplay and for best director - a feat he would repeat the following year with All About Eve - created a compelling narrative via the voiceover narration of the never seen other woman, well performed by Celeste Holm. The screenplay contained the right…
Such a delightful little film. It doesn't try to redefine a genre and it doesn't have the greatest acting performances, but it's more than the sum of its parts and scores big by adding quality performances to an ingenious story.
The story of an unseen woman running off with the husband of one of three women, the movie is mostly flashbacks about the relationships between the leads. The three lead actresses (Crain, Darnell, and Sothern) all do fine work, with the best work perhaps being done by Darnell, with Sothern a close second. They've got compelling stories to tell and they're told beautifully.
The supporting men are an integral part of the mix. Particularly Kirk Douglas (who I'd never seen…
This superbly written and acted soap opera brought writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz Best Director and Best Screenplay Oscars the year before he repeated the exact same wins with "All About Eve," to my knowledge the only time that's happened.
Jeanne Crain, Ann Sothern and Linda Darnell play three friends who go off on a children's' outing for the day. Before they leave, they receive a letter from the fourth member of their circle, the enigmatic Addie Ross, who tells them she has run off with one of their husbands. The rest of the film plays out like a murder mystery, each woman thinking back over her marriage and wondering if her husband's the guilty party.
In both this and "All…
As the boat leaves the dock, three wives are staring longingly at a telephone booth on land, not being able to find out right away whose husband it is whom Addie Ross (voice by Celeste Holm) has run off with, and I'm thinking: 'Wrong decade and century, girls.' As far as technology is concerned of course, not when it comes to cinema because I love the 1940s. And this film is very enjoyable and engaging. I think it's my first Ann Sothern film and I like her. I also like the different stories, especially the Linda Darnell/Paul Douglas one, with a great performance by Darnell. And what a nice surprise to see Thelma Ritter play! I didn't know she was going to be in this one, and again she steals every scene she's in. If this film hadn't been worthwhile already, Ritter makes sure that it is.
Part of 100 Films I Really Want to See in 2016 (36/100)
SAW: in Norris Theatre (for 464)
An intelligent script by Joseph Mankiewicz highlights this interweaving story of three married friends who discover one of their husbands has run off with a fourth friend. The question is whose husband? Performances highlights are by Linda Darnell and Ann Southern as two of the wives (Jeanne Crain is the third). Darnell is especially stunning. Also effective are Kirk Douglas in the unusual role of the intellectual teacher/husband of Ann Southern and the always interesting Thelma Ritter. Class distinction and sexual politics in post-war America are major themes that still resonant.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Missing films I can't locate on Letterboxd:
Blonde Ambition (1981)
I Like to Watch / Caballero (1982)
Mona the Virgin…