Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell and Ann Sothern are three wives in an upper-middle-classneighbourhood. Just as they head off on an outing with a group of children, they receive a letterfrom the narrator (a silken-voiced Celeste Holm) that she has left town with one of theirhusbands. Which one? Unable to get home until the end of the day, the three women must waitand wonder, and in flashback we see the strains in each of their marriages. Crain is the formerfarmgirl who doesn’t f…el up to her husband’s upper-crust friends. Sothern is the radio writer whoearns more than schoolteacher Kirk Douglas. And Darnell is the gold-digger, whose husbandknows damn well what she is.
Written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve), this features all thewit, biting commentary and dazzling dialogue that one would expect. The character studies areinsightful, there are some comedy bits that are simultaneously throwaways and howlingly funny,and the suspense that builds up to the final revelation is genuine. There are also some scorchingdouble-entendres (watch Linda Darnell have her first drink with Paul Douglas). A marvellousfilm.
As with the other Studio Classics, the sound comes in the original mono and 2.0 stereo. Theremix is acceptable, and though it does have some of the flaw that bedevils this series –surround dialogue — this isn’t as bad and is far less distracting than with many of the otherreleases. There is a some background hiss, and a slight muzziness to the dialogue, but the voicesare still generally very clear.
The print is in very fine shape, with little to no grain and no edge enhancement halos. Theblack-and-white looks terrific, and the blacks themselves are very deep. On one occasion there isa bit of flicker apparent, but for the most part the restoration is a real success. The aspect ratio isthe original 1.33:1.
Genuinely in-depth commentaries have been the hallmark of this series from Day One, andthe track here is no exception. The contributors are director’s son Christopher Mankiewicz andbiographers/film scholars Kenneth Geist and Cheryl Lower. Excellent stuff, and the highlight ofthe extras. The A&E Biography on Linda Darnell is the usual thing. There are also the otherexpected extras in the series: Movietone footage of the Oscar presentations, a restorationcomparison, and the theatrical trailer. The basic.
Another first-rate entry in the series, absolutely not to be missed.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- A&E Biography: “Linda Darnell: Hollywood’s Fallen Angel”
- Movietone Newsreel
- Restoration Comparison
- Theatrical Trailer