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Three Husbands

Three Husbands(1950)

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After dying of a heart attack, Englishman Maxwell Bard floats up to Heaven, where he is greeted by an angel whose job it is to grant wishes to the deceased. Max asks for the opportunity to spy on his friends, who have gathered at a law office in San Francisco: Arthur and Jane Evans, Kenneth Whittaker and Dan McCabe are told by Max's lawyer Wurdeman that Max requested that the reading of his will be delayed. Wurdeman then gives Arthur, Ken and Dan identical letters in which Max confesses to having had affairs with their wives. While Arthur and Ken are shocked and angered, Dan laughs at Max's posthumous practical joke. Later, at a bar, Ken shows the letter to the bartender, who suggests that he go home and take his aggression out on his wife. At home, Arthur, meanwhile, recalls a gathering that took place at his house: When the phone rings, Max answers it and speaks for some time to the caller, only later admitting that it was Jane. The next morning, Jane tells Arthur that she will be attending the symphony with Max, but they instead go to see a risqué French film. When Max notices Arthur sitting in the theater with his mistress, advertising artist Mathilda Clegg, he blocks Jane's view of them in order to spare her feelings. Back at the bar, Ken also searches his memory for signs of his wife Mary's involvement with Max: After Max becomes ill, Mary spends long hours nursing him back to health. When Ken wants to take her out to celebrate their second wedding anniversary, Mary says she would rather stay home. Later, however, she receives a phone call from an unidentified caller and leaves abruptly. Ken's mother, who also lives in the house, then reveals her suspicion that Mary has gone to meet Max. Ken rushes to Max's house, creeps around the side and enters illegally, after which he is arrested by two policemen. Back at the bar, Ken tells the bartender that he has decided to follow his advice and confront his wife. Meanwhile, Dan returns home to his wife Lucille, but unlike Arthur and Ken, he is not the least bit upset by Max's letter. Later, however, Dan begins to reflect: Shortly after Lucille meets Max at a racetrack, she attends the meeting of a committee of which he is the chairman. Suddenly, Dan's attitude toward Max's letter changes, and he begins accusing Lucille of infidelity. Later, the three couples, Ken's mother and Mathilda are all summoned back to the law office. Finally, Wurdeman reads Max's will, which grants Mathilda two years' worth of tuition at an exclusive school in Paris, provided that she live there. Ken's mother, Jenny Bard Whittaker, who is also Max's cousin, receives their grandfather's house and property in Columbus, Ohio, also with the stipulation that she live there. Then, through Wurdeman, Max reveals that he wrote the deceptive letters so that his friends would appreciate their wives anew. Back in Heaven, the sound of Max's laughter echoes through the clouds.