The plot concerns schoolteachers Karen Wright and Martha Dobie, both of whom are in love with Dr. Joe Cardin. The malicious lie of one of their students involves all three in a scandal which disrupts all their lives.
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It could have been a so great movie about rumours like Fritz Lang's Fury but one feels that censorship had to say its word with Wyler's These Three. So we have here only a good rural drama with two or three inventive camera movements like the dolly in/dolly out in the direction of the window during the crucial Joe and Martha's scene. Recommended.
A pleasant, at times purposeful, slice of classic Hollywood. The slander and lies that plague the central trio never feel as damning or dramatic as they could have been. The sense of loss is intermittently palpable and tensions of the love triangle never threaten to boil over. The true star of the show is Bonita Granville who may well be the most despicable child ever shown on screen - a truly villainous turn!
So polished, literate and effective you don't even notice that all its meaning has been stripped away by censorship, and that at its core lies nothing more than a bratty-kid sub-plot from a Little Rascals short.
Could this be William Wyler's best film? For me, it ranks up there with "The Letter" and "The Heiress." What is amazing in the transformation from play to film, is that in eliminating the lesbian theme, it allows the viewer to focus on the lie.
Another great film from Wyler who seemingly did no wrong. I am a huge Hopkins and McCrea fan so this may have swayed my view of the film as most prefer the remake. The kid is about as bad as The Bad Seed, and the story actually works quite well despite Hays censorship taking some of the teeth out. An easy 4 stars