Three women are going on a trip that leaves incommunicado with the rest of the world and before they leave; a woman who either has a history or relationship with each of their husbands ... See full summary »
Lora May Hollingsway, who grew up next to the wrong side of the tracks, married her boss who thinks she is just a gold digger. Rita Phipps makes as much money writing radio scripts at night as her school teacher husband does. Deborah Bishop looked great in a Navy uniform in WWII but fears she'll never be dressed just right for the Country Club set. These three wives are boarding a boat filled with children going on a picnic when a messenger on a bicycle hands them a letter addressed to all three from Addie who has just left town with one of their husbands. They won't know which one until that night.Written by
Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
Concerto No. 2 in B Flat Major, Op. 83
Music by Johannes Brahms
Played at the Phipps dinner party See more »
An American town verging on the 1950s
"A Letter to Three Wives" was released in early 1949 as America was heading toward the conformist suburban culture of the 1950s. "Three Wives" takes place just before that turning point and, perhaps for this reason, has an innocence about it since the film has no knowledge of what will follow or where the culture was going. For me, this innocence is infused with a feeling of tenderness for a post-World War II America that might have gone in a different direction had it made other choices.
No tract houses or strip malls are here yet. It still has its "plain" Main Street. The town is close enough to New York City to commute, but still maintains its integrity as a town, and one small enough to give someone the opportunity of 'leaving town'. Television is briefly mentioned in relationship to the money that can be made from advertising on it, although the town's one TV set sits idle because the town is too far away to receive a signal. Ann Sothern's Rita is earning her substantial income writing for radio, not television as she most likely will do within a year or two.
Of the three couples, I have a soft spot for Lora Mae and Porter. I've wondered a number of times how their lives progressed after the film ended. Were they able to build a more stable relationship from what they learned about themselves after the incident with Addie, or did their marriage fall apart from other issues they were unable to resolve? In spite of the games they played, they seemed to have something real going on. I've always liked them and wished them well.
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