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The 10 Best Films of the 1940s

7. A Letter to Three Wives (1949)

Along with All About Eve a couple of years later, this is one of the Joseph L. Mankiewicz films that represented the summit of urbane wit at the movies. It’s equal parts drama, comedy and mystery, a story about three suburban wives away from home for the day who learn in a letter from the beautiful, cultured woman they all admire that she is running off with one of their husbands. But they, and we, won’t learn which one until the end. A young Kirk Douglas gives a particularly wised-up performance as one of the husbands.