Julia Ross secures employment, through a rather-noisy employment agency, with a wealthy widow, Mrs. Hughes, and goes to live at her house. Two days later, she awakens in a different house ... See full summary »
Joseph H. Lewis
Dame May Whitty,
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 <email@example.com>
Warner Bros. didn't want to cast Ann Blyth as Veda because she was under contract to Universal, and it would necessitate a loan-out. Joan Crawford coached Blyth privately for her screen test and after viewing it, Warner's began negotiations to "borrow" her for the film. See more »
When Monty is pouring Mildred a drink, he asks her to say "when" for when she wants him to stop pouring, but then gives her the drink he poured for himself. See more »
"You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby"
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Played and sung at Wally's club toward the beginning
Also played when Veda and Ted are at Wally's club See more »
The story that unfolds in Mildred Pierce is complicated and dark, and at its darkest, is a chilling portrait of a mother so devoted to her children (well, child, really) that she would go to any and all lengths for them. Although some of the situations and scenes suffer from the passage of time (the modern audience in the cinema, myself included, couldn't help laughing at some of the more ludicrous things said/done), the film as a whole worked, mostly on the strength of the performances.
Joan Crawford won her only Oscar for her role, and it was well-deserved--she held the film together with a confident performance that ranged from charming and sassy, to desperate and almost frightening. The final scenes of the film, especially, captured Mildred at her most pathetic, and Crawford looked utterly despondent in the telephone scene. Ann Blyth is utterly convincing as the spoilt, deeply disturbed Veda, narcissistic and unrelentingly manipulative of her mother. And the best supporting performance had to come from Eve Arden, who played Mildred's friend Ida--Arden saunters across the screen, stealing scenes left and right, before disappearing from view again. She was excellent!
The film is well worth the watch--not brilliant, but definitely very good. I also like the story-telling technique and the direction (the director made quite clever and frequent use of shadows and mirrors), and it's good that the darkness and melodrama was frequently mitigated by the well-written dialogue. 8/10.
26 of 35 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?