Three Husbands

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Three Husbands
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Irving Reis
Produced by Isadore Goldsmith (producer)
Anthony Z. Landi (associate producer)
Written by Vera Caspary
Edward Eliscu
Gertrude Purcell
Story byVera Caspary
Starring Eve Arden
Ruth Warrick
Emlyn Williams
Music by Herschel Burke Gilbert
Cinematography Franz Planer
Edited by Louis Sackin
Gloria Films
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
March 8, 1951
Running time
78 minutes
CountryUnited States

Three Husbands is a 1951 American comedy film directed by Irving Reis and starring Eve Arden, Ruth Warrick, and Emlyn Williams. [1] [2]

Comedy is a genre of film in which the main emphasis is on humour. These films are designed to make the audience laugh through amusement and most often work by exaggerating characteristics for humorous effect. Films in this style traditionally have a happy ending. One of the oldest genres in film, some of the very first silent movies were comedies, as slapstick comedy often relies on visual depictions, without requiring sound. When sound films became more prevalent during the 1920s, comedy films took another swing, as laughter could result from burlesque situations but also dialogue.

Irving Reis American film director

Irving Reis, was a radio program producer and director, and a film director.

Eve Arden actress

Eve Arden was an American film, radio, stage, and television actress, and comedienne. She performed in leading and supporting roles for nearly six decades.



When a recently deceased playboy, Max, gets to heaven, he is granted a wish. His request: to watch his three best friends, with whom he regularly played poker, for the next 24 hours. That day, each man would receive a letter; tomorrow, Max's will is to be read. Each letter states that he had an affair with that man's wife, all of with whom he was close. With one, Max attended Friday symphony matinees and had tea afterwards; with another, he went to night clubs and taught French; the last, he repeatedly hired as his nurse through his long battle with heart disease.

Each husband reacts differently, as does each wife when she discovers that something has happened to make her husband distrust her. At the end of the 24 hours, each couple declares their intention to divorce, mistrust and disbelief having split each relationship. The lawyer reads the will, stating that Max's great fortune has been left to the three wives, as he believes that marriage is stronger when a wife is not dependent on her husband. It states in his will that Max wrote the letters to show each of his friends how much his wife was worth, as each had begun to take her for granted; he believed that jealousy was the perfect motivator to make someone re-appreciate something/someone.

Each wife reiterates her intention to divorce; each husband apologizes and begs her to reconsider. The three couples all reconcile, everyone grateful for having had Max and for his final gift to them - each other.


Ruth Warrick American actress

Ruth Elizabeth Warrick was an American singer, actress and political activist, best known for her role as Phoebe Tyler Wallingford on All My Children, which she played regularly from 1970 until her death in 2005.

Vanessa Brown actress

Vanessa Brown was an Austrian-born American actress who was successful in radio, film, theater, and television.

Howard Da Silva actor

Howard Da Silva was an American actor, director and musical performer on stage, film, television and radio. He was cast in dozens of productions on the New York stage, appeared in more than two dozen television programs, and acted in more than fifty feature films. Adept at both drama and musicals on the stage, he originated the role of Jud Fry in the original 1943 run of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!, and also portrayed the prosecuting attorney in the 1957 stage production of Compulsion. Da Silva was nominated for a 1960 Tony Award as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his work in Fiorello!, a musical about New York City mayor LaGuardia. In 1961, Da Silva directed Purlie Victorious, by Ossie Davis.


Herschel Burke Gilbert was a prolific orchestrator, musical supervisor, and composer of film and television scores and theme songs, including The Rifleman, Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, and The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor. Gilbert once estimated that his compositions had been used in at least three thousand individual episodes of various television series.

Edward Eliscu was a lyricist, playwright, producer and actor, and a successful writer of songs for films.


The unnamed New York Times reviewer compared it unfavorably to the similar A Letter to Three Wives , which Three Husbands screenwriter Vera Caspary also had a hand in, writing " where 'A Letter to Three Wives' was a dramatic, biting commentary, which often was uproariously funny, 'Three Husbands' is merely a slick sleight-of-hand, ably performed, but chucklesome only in spots." [3]

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 125 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.

<i>A Letter to Three Wives</i> 1950 film by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

A Letter to Three Wives is a 1949 American romantic drama film which tells the story of a woman who mails a letter to three women, telling them she has left town with the husband of one of them. It stars Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern, Paul Douglas in his film debut, Kirk Douglas, Jeffrey Lynn, and Thelma Ritter. An uncredited Celeste Holm provides the voice of Addie Ross, the unseen woman who wrote the titular letter.

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  1. "Three Husbands". AFI. . Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  2. "THREE HUSBANDS (1950)". Turner Classic Movies . Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  3. "The Problem of 'Three Husbands'". The New York Times. March 9, 1951.
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