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A Letter to Three Wives (1949) Poster

Trivia

General Douglas MacArthur was so confused by the ending that he had his aide write Joseph L. Mankiewicz a letter asking with whom Addie had, in fact, run off.
The identity of the actress Celeste Holm who did the voice-over for Addie Ross was kept secret when the film was released. The studio held a number of "Who is Addie?" contests around the country where moviegoers could guess the actress' name.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz had a real battle with the American censors at the time who would not permit him to use words like "laxative" and "toilet" in his script. He got his revenge with a famous double-entendre laden exchange which used words like "penetration" and "saturation".
To get the proper look of derision from Linda Darnell in the scene where she stares at a photo of Addie, director Joseph L. Mankiewicz used a picture of Otto Preminger, the director who had given Darnell such a hard time on the set of Forever Amber (1947).
This film was based on John Klempner's novel, "A Letter to Five Wives." Two wives were lost in the transition to the screen.
At one point the film was called "A Letter to Four Wives". Upon submitting the adapted screenplay to 20th Century-Fox chief Darryl F. Zanuck, Joseph L. Mankiewicz mentioned that he found it too long and asked how he felt the movie could be shortened. "Take out one of the wives," Zanuck replied. Originally, the movie would have featured Anne Baxter as the fourth wife. Zanuck didn't feel Baxter's segment was as strong as the other three, so that one was cut.
This was leading stage actor Paul Douglas' motion picture debut.
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"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 20, 1950 with Paul Douglas and Linda Darnell reprising their film roles.
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"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 3, 1949 with Linda Darnell and Paul Douglas reprising their film roles.
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Anne Baxter's character in the film was to be named Martha.
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"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on May 18, 1952 with Paul Douglas and Linda Darnell again reprising their film roles.
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Jeanne Crain played a character named Deborah twice, first in "A letter to three wives" and later in "People will talk". Both movies were directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz .
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In 2010, The Simpsons made their own version of the story, in an episode called "Moe Letter Blues".
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Joseph L. Mankiewicz won the Best Director and Best Screenplay Oscars for his work on this film and would do the same again the following year with _All About Eve_. This has never been repeated.
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The film actually went into production in 1946 as "A Letter to Five Wives" from a script by Melville Baker and Dorothy Bennett. Gene Tierney, Linda Darnell, Maureen O'Hara, Dorothy McGuire and Alice Faye were all earmarked to play the wives but this version was quickly shelved until Joseph L. Mankiewicz retooled it in 1948.
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At various points in production, Tyrone Power, Anne Baxter, Joan Crawford and Ida Lupino were all attached.
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Remade in 1985 as a TV movie with Michele Lee, Loni Anderson and Stephanie Zimbalist as the wives. Ann Sothern also had a part in the film.
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Celeste Holm was initially not remotely interested in providing the off-screen voice of the letter-writer and was more inclined to take the part that eventually went to Ann Sothern. Joseph L. Mankiewicz persuaded her that her involvement would be absolutely crucial to the film's success.
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The Kirk Douglas character was based on Joseph L. Mankiewicz's own father.
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Paul Douglas was so nervous making his first film that he sweat constantly during his scenes, prompting the wardrobe department to keep changing his shirt.
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Linda Darnell and Joseph L. Mankiewicz became romantically involved during the making of the film. Darnell considered Mankiewicz to be the great love of her life but he refused to leave his wife. He later remarked that she was "a marvelous girl with terrifying personal problems".
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Linda Darnell's home which shakes when the train passes by was inspired by Joseph L. Mankiewicz's childhood home in New York City. His father would always stop talking as he waited for the Third Avenue El to pass by.
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