Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Letter to Three Wives

Joseph L. Mankiewicz was a director who was concerned with the bigger picture. His films often functioned as social commentary on top of entertainment, and his A Letter to Three Wives, which he won Oscars for adapting and directing, is a prime example of his style. Featuring a highly original plot, it introduces to three women and a female narrator. The trio are friends from different social strata-Upper class, Middle to Upper, and Poverty Level and each are semi obsessed with the narrator, whom they claim to be a friend as well. As the three women board a yacht for a getaway, they receive a letter from the narrator who informs them that she has run off with one of their husbands. Each woman then has a flashback which gives them reason to believe that their spouse may be the man in question. The flashbacks also serve as social commentary as each serves as a criticism of the upper class. Kirk Douglas and Paul Douglas (no relation) stand out as two of the spouses. I did find the film intriguing but maybe a little dated and hard to get into at points. Still it is an interesting entry from an important director from the golden days of Hollywood.