Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


THREE HUSBANDS (1951). Director: Irving Reis.

"Women are better wives if they are not dependent on the peccadilloes, insecurities, and whims and pretensions of their husbands."

Three men are given letters written by a deceased playboy, Max (Emlyn Williams), in which he tells each man that he and the fellow's wife were in love. What follows are a series of flashbacks in which each husband reviews his and his wife's relationship with the deceased, trying to determine if the letter could possibly be true. Arthur (Shepperd Strudwick) is married to Jane (Ruth Warrick) but is involved with a woman named Matilda (Louise Erickson). Ken (Robert Karnes) is married to Max's nurse, Mary (Vanessa Brown), and has an interfering mother (Billie Burke) who lives upstairs. Dan (Howard Da Silva) is married to Lucille (Eve Arden), and constantly nags her to act more upper crust than she is to help him gain entry to a higher social scale. While this light comedy-drama has its moments and good performances -- especially from Brown, Da Silva, and Arden -- any resemblance to the superior A Letter to Three Wives, which it tries to emulate, is strictly coincidental. Burke plays a more serious part, as she did in In This Our Life, but is given little to do. Strudwick made a fine impression in The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe in the title role, and also appeared in Psychomania/Violent Midnight. Whatever its inefficiencies, the picture does have a very cute ending.

Verdict: As usual, Eve Arden adds some snap. **.

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