A Letter to Three Wives

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Production: Fox
  Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
103 min

To begin with,

all the incidents and characters in this story

might be fictitious

and any resemblance to you or me

might be purely coincidental.

The name of the town isn't important.

It's the one that's just

28 minutes from the big city...

Twenty-three if you catch

the Morning Express.

Its on a river, and it's got houses

and stores and churches

and a Main Street.

Nothing fancy like Broadway or Market.

Just plain Main.

Drugs, dry goods, shoes,

those horrible little chain stores

that breed like rabbits.

Also a street for the upper,

the exclusive of the town,

where the country-club set live

when they're not at the country club.

This is the first Saturday in May

and tonight the first dinner dance

of the country-club season.

Well, anyway, this house belongs to

Brad and Deborah Bishop,

two of my dearest friends.

Brad bought this house

before he went to war.

It was Brad who gave me

my first black eye and...

And my first kiss.

Well, when he came home from the war,

he came home with a wife, Deborah.

Thomasino said to tell you

he found room for your briefcase in the bag.

Good for Thomasino.

Why'd you have him pack a bag?

Because I know these

Saturday conferences.

A bit like Saturday poker games,

don't plan on doing anything Sunday.

Its strange, your not letting me know

when you plan to be away overnight.

This is just in case, darling.

There's no telling how late it'll be.

And I like my own pajamas between me

and the sheets in a Turkish bath.

You'll phone this afternoon,

though, either way, won't you?

And leave word, even if Im not here?

Just where might you be

when I call if not here?

First Saturday in May, remember?

The Settlement House Picnic.

That's right. The Women's Club thing.

Like it?

Anything to do with kids.

You know that.

What are you wearing tonight?

Ive got the one

you liked so much in Vogue.

- But if you're staying in town...

- What color?

Black, like you said.

Brad, I don't want to go without you.

Darling, it's the first

dinner dance of the season.

- If I only knew you were gonna be there.

- I will be if I can,

and if I can't, why should

that throw you into a panic?

What are you afraid of,

anyway, Deborah?

- Good morning, Thomasino.

- Morning, Mr. Bishop.

Im not in a panic.

Well, then?

Its just that suddenly the thought of going

to that dance tonight without you...

- Brad?

- Hmm?

Addie Ross, she used to be

sort of your ideal, wasn't she?

Now how did Addie

get into this conversation?

I never knew you read Vogue.

I never thought men bothered

much about it.

What's Vogue got to do with it?

I told you I picked it up on the train

coming home one night.

- Some woman had left it behind.

- Some woman.

Yes, some woman.

I thumbed through it and saw a dress

I thought would look smart on you.

What's wrong with that?

Nothing, I guess. Nothing at all.

- I should hope not.

- Well, Ive gotta pick up Rita.

- You'll phone about tonight, won't you?

- I told you I would.

It just so happens that the dress I bought,

that you picked out of Vogue that some

woman happened to leave on the train,

is exactly the dress that Addie Ross

wore to the concert two weeks ago!

Hot toast, Mr. Bishop.

She won't stay

mad at him long. She's too much in love.

Pretty soon,

she'll be full of self-reproach.

Women are so silly.

Now, this is that street where people

on the way up and on the way down

live alongside each other for awhile.

Rita and George Phipps

are on their way up,

that is, if Rita has her way.

And that's the only way

she'll have any part of, thank you.

There she is now.

Ready, waiting. That's Rita.

Hi. You're late.

I won't be a minute.

Just one last look at the twins

and Ive gotta give Sadie her check.

On behalf of the underprivileged

children of this town,

Id like to thank you

over-privileged ladies

for sharing your

excess privileges with us.

There's something odd-looking

about you today, George.

Just that usual two-headed

schoolteacher look.

You're all dressed up. Saturday,

no school, and you're all dressed up.

Just my little old blue serge.

First Saturday of trout season. Brad says

ever since you were big enough lift a fish...

Shh. Listen closely.

Can you hear the grateful murmur

of the trout

as they whisper in the brooks and streams?

This is what they whisper,

"Phipps will not fish today."

Mm. You're cute. But why?

Because Ive got something better to do.

Have a nice day.

Debby, darling, we'll have to stop station.

Ive just got to get my copy off on the 8:42.

Do you mind?

What's George being so mysterious about?

I wouldn't know.

It seems we're not talking.

- Oh, Im sorry.

- Oh, it's just one of those things.

It'll be all right.

Why? Was he acting strangely?

Mm. Not exactly. Well, it's only he's

not going fishing and being all dressed up.

All dressed up?

Why, so he is. His blue suit.

On Saturday of all things.

And no fishing. Hmm.

The radio hasn't been fixed yet.

Oh. And they've just gone on the air.

Oh, well. Save myself listening

to the murder of my little brainchild.

Rita, why on earth do you do it?

Five of those radio programs every week.

Up until dawn almost every night.

Because each week

I receive in return 100 pieces

of what Addie Ross calls "the most

restful shade of green in the world."

Unquote. Addie again.

Why is it that sooner or later,

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Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Joseph Leo Mankiewicz (February 11, 1909 – February 5, 1993) was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. Mankiewicz had a long Hollywood career, and he twice won the Academy Award for both Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay for A Letter to Three Wives (1949) and All About Eve (1950). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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