6.06.2012

Mildred Pierce

My post on The Graduate seemed to go over well, so I decided that I'll do one movie post a week. 

Today - Mildred Pierce.
I read Mildred Pierce the book. I watched Mildred Pierce the mini-series. And now I've finally seen the original movie. I had some VERY strong feelings about the mini-series / book (more specifically, the characters in the mini-series / book), but I didn't expect to have them about this version.

I'd heard that the movie was super-different than the book, but it definitely wasn't as different plot-wise as I expected it to be.

Yet what they did change, I LOVED because it affected the characters I loathe in a bad, misery-inducing way.

If you don't want the plot spoiled for you, you probably don't want to read my comments. The images don't REALLY give anything away.
Hi Mildred Pierce-Baragon (Joan Crawford).
Why are you contemplating suicide in your fluffy fur coat?
.... because Monty is DEAD! 

Happy moment for Mallory number one. I was psyched. MONTY IS THE WORST! Even more the worst with this actor playing him than with Guy Pearce.

This (obviously to those who have seen the mini-series) is the main way this version is different: it's a mystery / film noir featuring the death of Monty (he doesn't die in the book or mini-series).

The movie begins with Mildred being dragged down to the courthouse because Monty is murdered. Her 1st husband (Burt Pierce) is arrested for the crime and she tells the detective her life story to prove why Mr. Pierce didn't do it. 
Oh look - it's her charming daughters: the angel and the devil incarnate. 

VEDA! I have never loathed a fictional character more. If I had that picture I'd throw darts at it.
At first I thought that Veda was more likable in this version.

And she was a bit more likable in her younger version, but the older she got.... the more TERRIBLE she got. By the end I hated her just as much as I hated the Evan Rachel Wood version of her in the mini-series. Maybe even more so, because - no offense to this actress, but - her face is.... annoying. Her face combined with the words she has to say. But.... also..... just her face.
"I must find a job in order to give my spoiled terrible daughter all the fancy things she wants."
Oh Kay (Ray in the other versions), why do you have to die? Why couldn't it have been Veda instead?
Monty's beach house was pretty awesome and a-frame-tastic (my love of a-frames will never die).
Nice suit, Mildred. Monty doesn't deserve you. He's a creep. Even from the beginning. You need to learn to be a better judge of character.
Do you get what I mean by the annoying face thing? "Oh look! A rich man!!!!!!" is what this  facial expression means.
Mildred is like a regular ol' Colonel Sanders or Tom Colicchio (or something in between), and it's STILL not enough to impress Veda or Monty.
Of course, Monty (& Veda) will still take her money. 215 dollars worth of shirts in 1948 money? No man needs that, Mildred. Especially one with a skinny little snake (or worm) of a mustache crawling across his upper lip.
Mildred's face as she finds out her daughter faked a pregnancy in order to con money from a guy. More misery for Mildred (if this movie had chapter titles like a Frasier episode, that would need to be the title of one). At least she's wearing a marvelous miniature top hat.
Another changed plot point that I enjoyed: while in the book & mini-series Veda becomes a relatively accomplished opera singer, in the movie she ends up singing at a sleazy bar. HA HA. Take that you snob.
The headline should be extended to say "..... in hopes that it will impress her daughter enough to convince her to come home."
Her ploy works! Veda returns.....
.... yes she returns and not only do she and Monty finagle it so Mildred loses her business, they also start making out. DAUGHTER AND HUSBAND OF THE YEAR.

Attractive + sparkly dress, though.
Betrayed. At this point you assume that Mildred was the one who shot Monty.....
..... but it was VEDA! That is what made me the happiest at all. Veda gets mad because Monty says he has no plans to marry her, she shoots him, and nitwit Mildred agrees to help her escape and then frames Wally to take the blame. But THEN Mr. Pierce says he did it (to protect Mildred). But then Mildred says she did it (to protect Veda) BUTTTTTTTT THENNNNNNNN the cops aren't idiots, they realize that Veda did it and she's off to a jail cell.
I was so happy - Monty dead & Veda in a jail cell..... two of my most-loathed characters ever got what they deserved. This is a rare circumstance in which I am actually glad about major plot changes in the book to movie adaptation process.
And that's that...... off Bert & Mildred walk into the Los Angeles grayness.

Want to look at another movie post? Go HERE

4 comments:

  1. This is awesome. I cannot tell you how much this made my day!

    I have spent my afternoon watching the mini series and fuming over various loathed characters.

    This totally makes me want to watch the original. Nice work!

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  2. wonderful! i need to watch all versions AND read the book.

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  3. Old movies makes me want to walk around in big puffy tulle a-line dresses. And tiny hats.

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  4. I love the original Mildred Pierce. When I heard about the changes and how different the mini-series is, I had no interest in seeing it. But I'd happily watch the old movie again for the umpteenth time. I'm often like that with old movies. But now I feel I have to find the book.

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Thanks for your comment you wonderful person you.