When Mildred Pierce's wealthy husband leaves her for another woman, Mildred decides to raise her two daughters on her own. Despite Mildred's financial successes in the restaurant business, her oldest daughter, Veda, resents her mother for degrading their social status. In the midst of a police investigation after the death of her second husband, Mildred must evaluate her own freedom and her complicated relationship with her daughter. Written by
Ann Blyth remembered Joan Crawford as "the kindest, most helpful human being I've ever worked with. We remained friends for many years after the film. I never knew that other Joan Crawford that people wrote about." 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 »
It's the dress. It's awfully cheap material. I can tell by the smell.
What did you expect? Want it inlaid with gold?
Well, it seems to me, if you're buying anything, it should be the best. This is definitely not the best.
Oh, quit. You're breakin' my heart.
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The opening credits are presented with a background ocean scene that "washes" the credits on the screen. 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.
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