A dazed woman walks the streets of Los Angeles looking for a man named David. After collapsing in a diner, she's taken to the psychiatric ward of a nearby hospital. Flashbacks reveal her ... See full summary »
Johnny Farrell is a gambling cheat who turns straight to work for an unsettling casino owner Ballin Mundson. But things take a turn for Johnny as his alluring ex-lover appears as Mundson's wife, and Mundson's machinations begin to unravel.
Mildred Pierce dotes on her daughters while husband Bert looks to Maggie Binderhof for affection. They separate leaving Mildred to raise the girls on her own. Elder daughter Veda goads her mother about their lack of money and in response Mildred proposes opening a small restaurant. Realtor Wally Fay advises her while making numerous rebuffed passes and introduces her to Monte Baragon whose property becomes the first of a chain of restaurants. Mildred has an affair with Monte. Meanwhile, money-hungry Veda pretends to be pregnant by wealthy Ted Forrester in order to bilk his family of $10,000. Mildred tears up the check, is slapped by Veda, and orders her daughter to leave. After time away, Mildred returns to find Veda singing in a cheap club. Veda will return only if Mildred promises luxury, so Mildred agrees to marry Monte in exchange for a third of her businesses. It soon becomes clear that something is going on between Veda and Monte. Mildred learns of this only after Monte has sold... Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Joan Crawford won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of the title character in this 1945 offering by Warner Brothers. Ms. Crawford was in her prime then and members of my generation, who remember her in films such as 1968's Berserk and 1970's Trog, are sometimes surprised to learn how attractive and talented she was in her heyday. The mean-spirited commentary of her life which we have been subjected to since her death in 1977 notwithstanding, still there was a certain hard edge to her personality which shown through in her screen roles. That she was able to win filmdom's greatest prize by playing a willing victim and vulnerable woman is perhaps the greatest tribute to her abilities as an artist. At any rate, she was the star of this film noir classic, a story that holds up well after 57 years. Mildred Pierce was an ordinary housewife of the era. No skills, relied on her husband for sustenance and leadership and was crushed when he ditched her for another woman. Her daughters were her whole life, doting unhealthily on Veda, the older one, especially (a very young Ann Blyth, herself nominated for Best Supporting Actress for this film). But, Veda was a schemer, conniver and social climber from the word go and it was ultimately her actions which brought an interesting human interest story to a thunderous climax. The story fascinates as we see Crawford, through iron will and determination, become an independent, successful business woman even as she makes tragic error after tragic error in her personal life. Mildred Pierce really is a rare animal, as it truly is more of a human interest story than any other in the film noir genre. The cast is great: Jack Carson, outstanding as Mildred's lifelong friend and would-be suitor, Bruce Bennett as Mildred's nice but weak-willed husband, Zachary Scott as the caddish successor to Bruce Bennett for Mildred's affections, and Eve Arden (still another nomination for Best Supporting Actress) in one of her trademark roles as a no nonsense gal pal. In Mildred Pierce, we have murder, love, misguided love, love not reciprocated, jealousy, misunderstanding, and good intentions/bad results. Could it be this film is so intriguing because we see in our own lives one or more of these very human conditions?
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