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.
A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
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>
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 »
This gets high points for the fine acting, memorable characters and successfully melding a film noir with a soap opera. The movie is very interesting all the way through but if stupid and/or annoying characters get to you, then don't bother with this because there are some big-time fools in this film who are guaranteed to raise your blood pressure! There are six major characters in this film, only one of which I can find no fault. Three people are totally despicable, one is nice and sensible, and two are somewhere in the middle.
NICE AND SENSIBLE - Eve Arden, who provides the humor and common sense consistently. For those Baby Boomers who remember her as TV''s "Our Miss Brooks," that's what she is here: same voice, same wise cracks.
HORRIBLE HUMAN BEINGS - Ann Blyth, the Daughter from Hell, one of the worst spoiled kids in the history of film. Zachary Scott as Mildred's second husband, a slimy, gold-bricking bum who has absolutely no morals. Jack Carson as the way-too-horny slob and ruthless businessman/lawyer .
IN THE MIDDLE - The lead character, Mildred Pierce, played by Joan Crawford. Her good characteristics: hard-worker, good business sense (until the end) and very devoted mother. Her bad characteristics: absolutely no sense of judgment on how to raise kids or what a marriage is all about. Bad hairdo, too! Bruce Bennett as Mildred's first husband. Good - has common sense regarding the kids, shows forgiveness and loyalty at the end. Bad - cheats on his wife to begin with and walks out.
Note: Get the DVD. It's a beautiful transfer: nice sharp picture with good contrasts.
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