Mildred Pierce

Mildred Pierce

4.3 8
Director: Michael Curtiz

Cast: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott

     
 

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Joan Crawford won an Academy Award for her bravura portrayal of the titular heroine in Mildred Pierce. The original James M. Cain novel concerned a tawdry waitress who slept her way to financial security so as to provide a rosy future for her beloved daughter, only to be rewarded by having her true love stolen away by that

Overview

Joan Crawford won an Academy Award for her bravura portrayal of the titular heroine in Mildred Pierce. The original James M. Cain novel concerned a tawdry waitress who slept her way to financial security so as to provide a rosy future for her beloved daughter, only to be rewarded by having her true love stolen away by that selfsame daughter. Ranald McDougall's screenplay tones down the novel's sexual content, enhancing its cinematic value by adding a sordid murder. The film opens with oily lounge lizard Monte Beragon (Zachary Scott) being pumped full of bullets. Croaking out the name "Mildred," he collapses and dies. Both the police and the audience are led to believe that the murderer is chain-restaurant entrepreneur Mildred Pierce (Crawford), who not only confesses to the crime, but takes the time to relate her life story. As the flashback begins, we see Mildred unhappily married to philandering Bert Pierce (Bruce Bennett). She divorces him, keeping custody of her two beloved daughters, Veda (Ann Blyth) and Kay (Jo Anne Marlowe). To keep oldest daughter Veda in comparative luxury, Mildred takes a series of jobs, culminating with a waitressing position. With the help of her wisecracking coworker Ida (Eve Arden), Mildred turns the restaurant into a genuine moneyspinner. She seduces slimy real estate agent Wally Fay (Jack Carson) in order to afford her own establishment, which grows into a chain of "Mildred Pierce's" throughout Southern California. When youngest daughter Kay dies, Mildred smothers Veda in affection and creature comforts. She goes so far as to enter into a loveless marriage with wealthy Monty Beragon in order to improve her social standing. In return, the caddish Beragon enters into several shady business deals which bankrupt Mildred. He caps this misbehavior by carrying on an affair with stepdaughter Veda.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Rachel Saltz
One of the greatest Hollywood movies about mother love -- rivaled only by STELLA DALLAS -- MILDRED PIERCE is a triumph for both Joan Crawford, who earned an Academy Award for her portrayal of the title character, and director Michael Curtiz, who elevated a gritty B-movie tale to truly artful melodrama. Based on James M. Cain's novel, the plot unfolds in a seamless weave of mystery and melodrama as Mildred tells her life story while confessing to a crime she may or may not have committed. Her unique rise and fall -- from waitress to restaurateur to socialite to murder suspect -- is fueled by her blinding love for her daughter, Vera, who constantly rejects her. Under the great Curtiz, who gave the world CASABLANCA, MILDRED PIERCE is a taut melodrama that blends film noir with elements of the "women's" film. Full of noble feelings and snakes in the grass, this pulpy soap opera is swift, vicious, and full of pungent energy. The excellent cast also features Eve Arden as Mildred's tart-tongued business associate and Zachary Scott as the louche playboy who sets Mildred up in the restaurant business.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Adapted from James M. Cain's novel, and allegedly noir-ed up after Double Indemnity's 1944 box office success, Mildred Pierce (1945) became a striking hybrid of film noir and maternal melodrama, rejuvenating Joan Crawford's then-faltering stardom. Under the direction of top Warner Bros. helmer Michael Curtiz, Crawford's glamorously fur-clad Mildred initially appears to be a femme fatale as she walks down a dark, rain-slicked pier after a murdered man dies uttering her name. Evenly lit flashbacks, however, reveal Mildred as an upwardly mobile working mother, bonding with wisecracking co-worker Ida and trying to make a good life for her daughters after her weak husband Bert cheats on her. Ace Warner cinematographer Ernest Haller's noir shadows and skewed angles begin to encroach on Mildred's story as her relationship with hellacious daughter Veda and effete second husband Monte approaches its fateful climax. Crawford's first film for Warners after the end of her MGM contract became her first hit in several years, as she garnered accolades, and eventually a Best Actress Oscar, for her forceful performance. The film was also nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Supporting Actress for Eve Arden's scene-stealing Ida and Ann Blyth's sublimely witchy Veda.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/04/2003
UPC:
0012569571228
Original Release:
1945
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono]
Time:
1:51:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Joan Crawford Mildred Pierce
Jack Carson Wally Fay
Zachary Scott Monte Beragon
Eve Arden Ida
Ann Blyth Veda Pierce
Bruce Bennett Bert Pierce
Lee Patrick Maggie Binderhof
Moroni Olsen Inspector Peterson
Veda Ann Borg Miriam Ellis
Jo Ann Marlowe Kay Pierce
Barbara Brown Mrs. Forrester
Charles Trowbridge Mr. Williams
Butterfly McQueen Lottie
Chester Clute Mr. Jones
John Parker Compton Ted Forrester
Betty Alexander Party Guest
Ramsay Ames Party Guest
George Anderson Peterson's Assistant
Robert Arthur High School Boy
Lynne Baggett Waitress
Leah Baird Police Matron
Elyse Brown Waitress
Doria Caron Waitress
John Christian Singing Teacher
Wallis Clark Wally's Lawyer
Joyce Compton Waitress
Clancy Cooper Policeman
David Cota Pancho
Thomas P. Dillon Actor
Tom Dillon Policeman
Robert Evans Sailor
James Flavin Detective
Don Grant Bartender
Angela Greene Actor
Charles Jordan Policeman
Marjorie "Babe" Kane Actor
Richard Kipling Actor
Manart Kipper Dr. Gale
Marion Lessing Waitress
James Lono Houseboy
Robert Loraine Man
George Meader Man
Harold Miller Man
John O'Connor Detective
Garry Owen Policeman
Paul Panzer Waiter
Larry Rio Reporter
William H. Ruhl Personnel Man
Mary Servoss Nurse
John Sheridan Clerk
George Tobias Mr. Chris
Johnny Walsh Delivery Man
Wheaton Chambers Personnel Man
Joan Winfield Piano Teacher

Technical Credits
Michael Curtiz Director
Milo Anderson Costumes/Costume Designer
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Oliver S. Garretson Sound/Sound Designer
Anton Grot Art Director
Ernest Haller Cinematographer
George James Hopkins Set Decoration/Design
Ranald MacDougall Screenwriter
Max Steiner Score Composer
Richard Van Enger Special Effects
Willard Van Enger Special Effects
Jerry Wald Producer
Jack L. Warner Executive Producer
David Weisbart Editor
Perc Westmore Makeup
William Faulkner Source Author

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Mildred Pierce 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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PrimoRF More than 1 year ago
I had never been a big Joan Crawford fan, until after I saw this film. It is simply a must see film. I like the scenes along HWY 1.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Need this movie to be in DVD format