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DownGoesFrazier

A LETTER TO THREE WIVES

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It's a comedy-drama. I think it should have had June Allyson in the cast. She would have done a nice job as a fourth wife if they had expanded the premise.

 

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I've never seen it. In looking it up, all the referrences I perused call it a "romantic drama". Certainly, the plot sounds more dramatic than comedic.

 

Sepiatone

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Romantic drama is what I would call this film. Even Ann Sothern, who is always good for a laugh is kind of subdued in this one. But it is a nice film as far as romantic drama is concerned.

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>This film is classified as "comedy" on the TCM schedule (tonight at 8:00 EST).

 

The TCM schedule shows it airing at 2:30 AM in the morning. Eastern time.So does the Directv schedule

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I don't agree, there are many comedy elements to the film. Jeanne Crain on the dance floor, Thelma Ritter's wisecracks and Connie Gilchrist in the kitchen and the train rocking the house for example. No matter how it's classified it's a brilliant film, brilliant cast, brilliant script and direction. Great film

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Well I don't know what you're disagreeing with. I never said the film didn't have comic scenes in it. Just that I wouldn't define the movie as a comedy but instead a romantic drama since the subject manner of the film revolves around the stains of married life.

 

A movie like The Awful Truth deals with a similar theme but to me that is a romantic comedy (which is why they use a dog instead of a child for the custody battle), while Letters is more of a romantic drama.

 

Either way, I never said it was so black and white. i.e. that there were not comedy elements in the film.

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It's a romantic comedy drama.

 

The comedy runs throughout the film and is started with the funny narration.

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Yes, that's the way I've always thought of *A Letter To Three Wives* as a comedy/drama. I would not compare *The Awful Truth* a true screwball straight comedy to *A Letter To Three Wives* even though marriage misunderstandings are the topic. That's way too extreme. The film has so many comedic moments in it that's tempered with a dramatic theme, that's what makes it both a comedy/drama imo

 

At least we all agree that *A Letter To Three Wives* is a great film.

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A Letter to Three Wives is definitely a drama. It's no more of a comedy than All Through The Night or Stalag 17, even though both of those movies also had many comic moments scattered throughout.

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Andy, yes the theme of a woman breaking up a marriage and the pain that causes makes it a drama. However, even though there are quite a few dramatic scenes they seem to be done in a way to lighten it up. Even the scene of Ann Sothern's bosses coming to dinner have so many comedic touches. I understand your point but I'd still classify the film as both. *All About Eve* is a drama for example and that's apparent and yet there are many comedic lines in the film. I think this is something that Mankewicz had a great flair for doing in his films. To me *A Letter To Three Wives* is a comedy/drama or a drama/comedy

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It's tough to pin ALTTW down to a two word description, but when the plot is centered around the pain of a husband's supposed betrayal of his wife, it's hard for me to give "comedy" an equal billing, even though there were many light moments.

 

If you wanted to place it along a spectrum of "mixed" dramatic comedies / comic dramas, with (say) Stalag 17 and All About Eve at the "dramatic" end and The Thin Man or Boston **** at the "comedic" end, I'd put it much closer to Stalag 17. or All About Eve. Many people in the worst sort of situations often have many lighter moments in between the tidal waves of accusation, suspicion and despair, but underneath the surface those darker moods are always present, as they are throughout ALTTW nearly right up to the end. Whereas movies like The Thin Man and the Boston **** series could easily be called comic Whodunits and All Through The Night could be described as a comic spy movie, since Bogart's "henchmen" are basically comic buffoons who would be absurdly miscast in any real spy or gangster movie.

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Exactly, it's 2 hard to pin down a film like *ALTTW* in a definite 2 word description. I believe I remember reading you're a fan of *All About Eve* I am as well. On my list of top 10 favorite films of all time that's one of the reasons I brought *All About Eve* up in the first place as a drama with many witty /comedic lines. Hey, Mankewicz and Wilder 2 Jewish men that had that flair and talent to take a serious situation and bring humor to it.

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Just for the record I was being a wiseguy when I made that TCM is limited to two words comment. But yea, if given the choice of romantic comedy or romantic drama, I go with the later.

 

Of course others have another idea; just call it a comedy drama.

 

As pointed out, regardless of how one labels the picture it has many fine moments, is well made and acted (even miscast Douglas as a teacher does fine), and well worth viewing.

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Dangnabit James, I laughed a lot during the movie and I enjoyed the romantic drama.

 

But you may call it whatever you like.

 

:P

 

By the way, I haven't shaved in 3 weeks, and I looked in the mirror yesterday. I look more like Gabby Hayes now than Fred C. Dobbs. :)

 

gabby.jpg

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Well of the three words bandied about here, Comedy Drama would best describe this film imho. The Romantic title does not really apply. Kirk Douglas was not miscast, except in retrospect. He had not yet become a star when he did ALTTW, and had not yet established the persona that would make him one. I think he does well by his comedic role here, a genre in which he later seemed ill at ease.

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I agree Arturo, except I think Kirk did great, period. He was very effective as the understanding, loving, humorous husband His rant on commercials was priceless. Every performance in this film could not have been better, then, or judging the cast now, imo and I'll always think of this film as a comedy/drama/drama/comedy

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I don't think Kirk was miscast, and think he was very good. I meant that others might think he was miscast, based on his later forceful persona.

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I know that you liked Kirk's performance, and didn't think he was miscast then or now. You were clear :) I was commenting on the retrospect part of the comment. I don't think that it makes much sense in judging whether he was cast correctly in this role.based on his personna later in films. Again, I know that's not the way you look at it and I think it was asute of you to understand that others might feel that way.

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I agree that my view that Douglas was miscast is retrospect. I just don't view him as a teacher after seeing all of his later forceful performances. But like I said I felt he acted fine and as you noted this was one of his best lighter roles.

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There is comedy throughout all three episodes. In the first, the dialogue at the table at the country club, along with some physical moments: Crain waltzing, Southern retrieving the flower with "pardon my fingers". There is more in episode two, with Ritter, and later with Bates, Darnell and both Douglases. Even the dialogue on the radio, from the commercials to the shows, is humorous.

 

Edited by: Arturo on Feb 9, 2014 1:40 PM

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Well, ACTUALLY it's more a "Romantic/Drama/Comedy/Travel/Adventure" movie!

 

(...what?!...don't you folks remember the boat scenes in it???)

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