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Mildred Pierce

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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 ...
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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.
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Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/4/2003
  • UPC: 012569571228
  • Original Release: 1945
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:51:00
  • Format: DVD

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
Tom Dillon Policeman
Robert Evans Sailor
James Flavin Detective
Don Grant Bartender
Angela Greene
Charles Jordan Policeman
Marjorie "Babe" Kane
Richard Kipling
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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 10, 2010

    Great performance!

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2002

    DVD Format

    Need this movie to be in DVD format

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews