3 items from 2017
What exactly is Mildred Pierce? Is it a drama? A film noir? A proto-feminist declaration? You could argue that the Hollywood watermark is all of the above. Directed by Micaael Curtiz and starring the indomitable Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce is freshly out on Blu-ray and DVD this week from the Criterion Collection. The film opens in typical noir style: dramatic lighting and murder. Crawford's Mildred is on the precipice of a dock in California, about to throw herself off when she's interrupted by a strolling police officer. We then go back to the beginning to see how she got there. Mildred's got a cheating, out-of-work husband whom she clearly does not need. Self sufficient, she's already baking and selling pies and cakes out of her kitchen to support...
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With the new release of Mildred Pierce, the Criterion Collection appears to be solidifying a trend over the past couple years of providing a showcase for some of the greatest female actors from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Since late 2014, stars like Claudette Colbert (It Happened One Night, The Palm Beach Story), Rita Hayworth (Gilda, Only Angels Have Wings) and Rosalind Russell (His Girl Friday) have made their first appearances in the Collection, in what can be considered career-defining roles. These additions seem to be addressing a notable blind spot for Criterion. As impressive as their reach has been in bringing many of the most iconic women from the past hundred years of world cinema to the forefront, the continuing absence of silver screen legends like Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Greta Garbo and Elizabeth Taylor, just to name a few, seems like a lingering oversight, a problem yet to be »
- David Blakeslee
As a kid growing up in Indiana in the 1970s, Ryan Murphy only ever penned two fan letters.
The legendary actress’ response wasn’t gushy, which made it feel all the more authentic. “She didn’t write ‘Love, Bette Davis, Xoxoxo.’ It was like ‘Thanks for the letter. You’re sweet. Bette Davis,” Murphy recalled Tuesday during a luncheon panel session devoted to his latest FX series, “Feud,” which bows March 5.
Murphy’s first letter to Davis led to a running correspondence which eventually led to a meeting in Los Angeles about a month before the screen legend died in 1989. Nearly 30 years later, the prolific writer-director-producer is at the helm of the limited series that tells the story of Davis and Joan Crawford’s frenemy relationship during the making »
- Cynthia Littleton
3 items from 2017
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