I love you mother, really I do... but let's not get sticky about it.
Mildred Pierce plays like a melodrama and looks and feels like film noir, but it cleverly subverts a few of the tropes that primarily define the noir genre, setting this tale of betrayal and murder within a different and more complicated gender paradigm.
Joan Crawford won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Mildred, a mother of two who, deserted by her philandering husband, takes it upon herself to provide for her daughters, Kay (Jo Anne Marlowe) and Veda (Ann Blyth). However, Mildred's assumption of a traditionally male role takes a toll on her family, and as she earns success, she finds herself preyed on for her money as well as for her sex appeal — and the decisions she makes in each instance have repercussions later.
Beautifully staged by director Michael Curtiz — with Ernest Haller's cinematography capturing shadows with the zeal of a fetishist — and brilliantly performed by the strong-yet-fragile Crawford, Mildred Pierce is fascinatingly both feminist and anti-feminist, depicting a woman who is both triumphantly independent and inescapably undone by the conflict between her "male" ambitions and her female instincts. All of the usual archetypes of film noir are in conflict not only outside Mildred, but within her, as well: she is as much as anyone both the heel and femme fatale of her own story. Mildred Pierce also works simply as a roller-coastering soap of hard and tawdry emotions, with Blyth, Jack Carson and Zachary Scott memorably playing the distinctly defined parasites who complicate Mildred's strident self-actualization.
Mildred Pierce was brought to my Potluck Film Fest by Flickcharter Alex Christian Lovendahl, who ranks it at #106/2193 (95%) on his Flickchart, making it his favorite movie melodrama out of 25. Mildred Pierce landed on my Flickchart at #618 (84%), where it's #12 out of the 56 movie melodramas that I've seen.
I watched #OscarWinner #JoanCrawford in #MildredPierce (1945) by #MichaelCurtiz for my #PotLuckFilmFest https://t.co/S0HWiFWm33 https://t.co/GowxtnVbvl— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Sep 24 20:10:40 +0000 2017
Links for #MildredPierce - Amazon: https://t.co/ezADTd1A6L iTunes: https://t.co/y3tgstr7fw #PotLuckFilmFest #JoanCrawford #MichaelCurtiz https://t.co/3VwDYtAhd8— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Sep 24 20:11:52 +0000 2017
I loved 2011 #HBO #MildredPierce by #ToddHaynes. #MichaelCurtiz version is compact but just as dramatic & more artful. #PotLuckFilmFest https://t.co/ngNY8oUme4— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Sep 24 20:18:09 +0000 2017
#MildredPierce is #filmnoir w/gender twist; fascinatingly feminist & anti-feminist. Mildred is sort of her own #femmefatale #PotLuckFilmFest https://t.co/CPwhH5WmjB— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Sep 24 20:22:28 +0000 2017
#MichaelCurtiz uses #filmnoir shadows in #MildredPierce like #JJAbrams uses #lensflares. #PotLuckFilmFest https://t.co/PKEzyCiDNn— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Sep 24 20:25:10 +0000 2017
#MichaelCurtiz uses #filmnoir shadows in #MildredPierce like #JJAbrams uses #lensflares. #PotLuckFilmFest https://t.co/u13mtT59Sq— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Sep 24 20:26:11 +0000 2017
#MichaelCurtiz uses #filmnoir shadows in #MildredPierce like #JJAbrams uses #lensflares. #PotLuckFilmFest https://t.co/MTTIR1ZYzc— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Sep 24 20:26:56 +0000 2017
And more #MichaelCurtiz #filmnoir shadows in #MildredPierce ... #PotLuckFilmFest https://t.co/1hlvI8Q31y— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Sep 24 20:29:29 +0000 2017
#JoaCrawford is GREAT in #MildredPierce but whole cast is fine, incl. fun small role for #EveArden #PotLuckFilmFest #MichaelCurtiz https://t.co/xaO7tfuIRB— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Sep 24 20:31:35 +0000 2017
#MildredPierce was brought to my #PotLuckFilmFest by Alex Christian Lovendahl https://t.co/9JgJujiwIo Thanks for classic noirish melodrama! https://t.co/jT4mMz2BT7— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Sep 24 20:34:20 +0000 2017
As movies are added to this list, I'll add them to Letterboxd, here: