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Mildred Pierce (1945)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 20 October 1945 (USA)
A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Ranald MacDougall (screenplay), James M. Cain (novel)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Joan Crawford ... Mildred Pierce
Jack Carson ... Wally Fay
Zachary Scott ... Monte Beragon
Eve Arden ... Ida Corwin
Ann Blyth ... Veda Pierce
Bruce Bennett ... Bert Pierce
Lee Patrick ... Mrs. Maggie Biederhof
Moroni Olsen ... Inspector Peterson
Veda Ann Borg ... Miriam Ellis
Jo Ann Marlowe Jo Ann Marlowe ... Kay Pierce
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Storyline

When Mildred Pierce's out-of-work 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 Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A mother's love leads to murder. See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El suplicio de una madre See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,453,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shooting the early scenes, director Michael Curtiz accused Joan Crawford of needlessly glamorizing her working mother role. She insisted she was buying her character's clothes off the rack, but didn't mention that her own dressmaker was fitting the waists and padding out the shoulders. See more »

Goofs

The placement of the hat-stand after Bert arrives home. See more »

Quotes

Monte: You know, Mildred, in the spring, a young man's fancy lightly turns to what he's been thinking about all winter.
Mildred: It's a good thing California winters are so short.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are presented with a background ocean scene that "washes" the credits on the screen. See more »

Connections

Featured in K Street: Week 10 (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

South American Way
(uncredited)
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Played on the piano and sung by Ann Blyth and Jo Ann Marlowe
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Joan Crawford's Signature Role
2 October 2007 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

With those broad shoulders, those wall-to-wall eyebrows, that steely look on her face, and wrapped in those expensive clothes, the inimitable Joan Crawford exudes glamour and resolve as famed Mildred Pierce, housewife turned businesswoman, in this Michael Curtiz-directed film, part mystery, part melodrama.

The film's story, told in flashbacks, begins with mystery, and it is helped along by terrific B&W lighting. Most of the rest of the story is sheer melodrama, with talky dialogue that erupts from confrontations between various characters. The most important confrontations occur between Mildred and her ungrateful, scheming daughter Veda, who requires tons of money to be happy. As the story moves along, Mildred buys and successfully operates a restaurant, but it's not enough to win approval from her odious daughter. Mildred's love for Veda is deep. But Mildred, we learn, is also a take-charge woman who won't take any guff from anyone, at least from caddy suitors or prospective in-laws.

It's a great story. And in addition to the topnotch cinematography, the film has great production design, costumes, and editing. We're also treated to some pleasantly nostalgic music from the 1940s. Crawford gets good support performances from Ann Blyth, Eve Arden, and Jack Carson. I also liked Butterfly McQueen, the little lady with the high-pitched voice who plays Mildred's maid.

I suspect this film would have been worthy of praise, even with someone else playing the title character; the film is that good. But no other actress would have had the stage presence of the impressive Joan Crawford. It's mostly because of her that "Mildred Pierce" will be remembered and loved, for generations to come. It's also partly because of "Mildred Pierce" that Joan Crawford will be admired as a Hollywood legend, for generations to come.


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