Years after her aunt was murdered in her home, a young woman moves back into the house with her new husband. However, he has a secret that he will do anything to protect, even if it means driving his wife insane.
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
Joan Crawford won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of the title character in this 1945 offering by Warner Brothers. Ms. Crawford was in her prime then and members of my generation, who remember her in films such as 1968's Berserk and 1970's Trog, are sometimes surprised to learn how attractive and talented she was in her heyday. The mean-spirited commentary of her life which we have been subjected to since her death in 1977 notwithstanding, still there was a certain hard edge to her personality which shown through in her screen roles. That she was able to win filmdom's greatest prize by playing a willing victim and vulnerable woman is perhaps the greatest tribute to her abilities as an artist. At any rate, she was the star of this film noir classic, a story that holds up well after 57 years. Mildred Pierce was an ordinary housewife of the era. No skills, relied on her husband for sustenance and leadership and was crushed when he ditched her for another woman. Her daughters were her whole life, doting unhealthily on Veda, the older one, especially (a very young Ann Blyth, herself nominated for Best Supporting Actress for this film). But, Veda was a schemer, conniver and social climber from the word go and it was ultimately her actions which brought an interesting human interest story to a thunderous climax. The story fascinates as we see Crawford, through iron will and determination, become an independent, successful business woman even as she makes tragic error after tragic error in her personal life. Mildred Pierce really is a rare animal, as it truly is more of a human interest story than any other in the film noir genre. The cast is great: Jack Carson, outstanding as Mildred's lifelong friend and would-be suitor, Bruce Bennett as Mildred's nice but weak-willed husband, Zachary Scott as the caddish successor to Bruce Bennett for Mildred's affections, and Eve Arden (still another nomination for Best Supporting Actress) in one of her trademark roles as a no nonsense gal pal. In Mildred Pierce, we have murder, love, misguided love, love not reciprocated, jealousy, misunderstanding, and good intentions/bad results. Could it be this film is so intriguing because we see in our own lives one or more of these very human conditions?
47 of 55 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this