It was September 28, 1945. That may have put Joan Crawford back on top. It was two years since she made a film. A good five has past. Since, she had a major hit. She’s been in the game since 1924. She was willing to do whatever it took to get back on top. Thankfully, she had a friend in Jerry Wald.
Everyone claimed she was through. In Hollywood during those times. You were considered old at thirty five. Some were looking like fifty five. So, I get it. However, Joan Crawford was still beautiful and somewhat bankable. MGM should’ve listened to her. I doubt it was any regret from both sides. I’m glad she left Mayer.
She wanted this role badly! She was even willing to do a screen test. Like… It’s Joan Crawford dammit!!! Why would she need a screen test? The role was supposed to go to Bette Davis. She wasn’t feeling it. She wasn’t into playing a mother of a teenager. Next choice would’ve been Barbara Stanwyck. In my opinion, it would’ve been an absolute no. Who knows? I’m glad he didn’t pick her. He was so against Joan having this role. I read that he was willing to give it Olivia de Havilland or her sister Joan Fontaine. First of all, those two were too young for the role. After seeing Crawford’s test. He finally approved. Although, it was going to be rocky filming. Michael Curtiz, couldn’t stand the shoulder pads and the whole movie star persona. She even mentioned that he disliked her so much… He told her “I hate you!!!” Then ripped off the dress. Then shouted, “Omg! I can’t believe there hers. Not these, these!!!” Referring to her shoulders and not her boobs. The movie was a huge success and it won her the Oscar. As well as, revamped her career. She was back and top. She’s different in this film. She’s really giving one thousand percent. We’re going to dig a bit into the film.
Mildred Pierce is a working class woman struggling to make ends meet after she splits from her unemployed husband. To care for her two young daughters, she takes a day job as a waitress and moonlights as an independent baker, selling cakes and pies to local restaurants. When her youngest child, the sweet-natured Kay, dies of pneumonia, Mildred devotes all her time and energy to her spoiled teenage daughter Veda. With the help of local businessman Wally Fay and down-on-his-luck playboy Monty Beragon, she opens her own restaurant. It proves to be such a success that she soon expands it into a string of eateries in the Los Angeles area. But nothing she does pleases the willful Veda, not even marrying Beragon for his family name. It all comes crashing down on the night of Veda’s eighteenth birthday, when Mildred loses her empire and Monty is mysteriously murdered. And Mildred is faced with having to make one last sacrifice.
My favorite is her assistant Ida. She’s played by Eve Arden. She’s not feeding into the bull crap. She’s a aware of Monte’s bull crap. Her one liners are hilarious.. “Leave something on me.. I might catch cold.” When Wally Fay is staring her down. Ann Blyth, was excellent as her gold digging daughter Veda. That Veda was a living nightmare. Bruce Bennett plays her first husband Bert. I gotta say… Bert is fine!! You may dislike him in the beginning. In the end you love him. Jack Carson as Wally Fay a bit of a louse. He’s a hustler for sure. His pick up lines were corny but cute. Zachary Scott as Monte… He comes off smooth as hell. He’s a damn monster. This movie may be many years old. However, it was ahead of it’s time. I’ve watched this picture over and over again. You’ll be missing out. Take a look!!!
Here’s a few things the critics had to say…
The New York Times said that although Crawford gave “a sincere and generally effective characterization,” the film “lacks the driving force of stimulating drama,” and it did “not seem reasonable that a level-headed person like Mildred Pierce, who builds a fabulously successful chain of restaurants on practically nothing, could be so completely dominated by a selfish and grasping daughter, who spells trouble in capital letters.”
The staff at Variety liked the film, especially the screenplay, and wrote…. At first reading James M. Cain’s novel of the same title might not suggest screenable material, but the cleanup job has resulted in a class feature, showmanly produced by Jerry Wald and tellingly directed by Michael Curtiz … The dramatics are heavy but so skillfully handled that they never cloy. Joan Crawford reaches a peak of her acting career in this pic. Ann Blyth, as the daughter, scores dramatically in her first genuine acting assignment. Zachary Scott makes the most of his character as the Pasadena heel, a talented performance.
Well.. This had to be a spectacular film. She received the Oscar!!!
Happy 75th Anniversary to this film classic!!!