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Joseph L. Mankiewicz first made waves with this 1949 trilogy film, about three vacationing women who receive a letter from a mutual friend, announcing that she has run away with one of their husbands—but which? Mankiewicz's writing is bright and hard—he's sharpening his teeth for All About Eve, made the next year—but his acid wit is almost too much for his fragile characters to bear. His bile seems excessive applied to this satire on suburban mores, in a way it would not when Eve poured it on backstage Broadway, where there were some genuine pretensions to puncture. With Jeanne Crain, Ann Sothern, Kirk Douglas, Linda Darnell, and Paul Douglas. 103 min.

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