won an Academy Award for her bravura portrayal of the titular heroine in . The original James M. Cain novel concerns a wife and mother who works her way to financial security to provide a rosy future for her beloved daughter, but encounters difficulties and tragedies along the way. Ranald McDougall's screenplay tones down the sexual content, enhancing its film noir value by adding a sordid murder. The film opens with oily lounge lizard Monte Beragon ( ) being pumped full of bullets. Croaking out the name "Mildred", he collapses and dies. Both the police and the audience are led to believe that the murderer is chain-restaurant entrepreneur Mildred Pierce (Crawford), who takes the time to relate some of her sordid history. As the flashback begins, we see Mildred unhappily married to philandering Bert Pierce ( ). She divorces him, keeping custody of her two beloved daughters, Veda ( ) and Kay ( ). To keep oldest daughter Veda in comparative luxury, Mildred ends up taking a waitressing position at a local restaurant. With the help of slimy real estate agent Wally Fay ( ), she eventually buys her own establishment, which grows into a chain of restaurants throughout Southern California. Meanwhile, Mildred smothers Veda in affection and creature comforts. She goes so far as to enter into a loveless marriage with the wealthy Monty Beragon in order to improve her social standing; Beragon repays the favor by living the life of a layabout playboy, much to Mildred's dismay -- and possible financial ruin.
Mildred Pierce (1945) DVD
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Mildred Pierce (1945)
Writers:Ranald MacDougall (screenplay), James M. Cain (novel)
Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott