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>
Joan Crawford's tour-de-force as a self-sacrificing mother is a real stunner. Directed by Michael Curtiz, and based on James M.Cain's steamy novel, "Mildred Pierce" is a slick stylish sudser that ranks among the best.
After a decade-long streak at MGM, Crawford, made her way over to Warner Bros. It was a brilliant move as Crawford won an Oscar (as Mildred) and ended up back on top.
As the title character, Crawford brings a sense of steely determination and guts. As a devoted housewife, Mildred puts the needs of her family first. So when her husband (Bruce Bennett) begins a sleazy affair with a woman down the street, Mildred kicks him out and starts life anew. Nothing - not even one daughter's death and another daughter's selfishness - stops Mildred from working her way to the top. She goes from waitress in a greasy diner to the wealthy owner of a successful restaurant chain. But despite her achievements, Mildred must contend with a slimy lover (Zachary Scott) and her increasingly vile and spoiled daughter, Veda (Ann Blyth). All the drama comes to a rousing climax, which culminates in a physical altercation between brat and mom.
Crawford's gut-wrenchingly sympathetic performance draws you in, and the sparks that she and the wonderful Blyth create are unforgettable. Also, a playful Eve Arden as Mildred's pal, spouts off some terrific dialogue.
"Mildred Pierce" is an exceptional piece of work that uses some of the finest elements of classic cinema. The story moves along at a sleek pace, and thanks to the writers, "Mildred" never sinks in the froth of its own soapiness. A powerful, emotional cinematic experience.
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