An oldie but (very) goodie: Mildred Pierce

A couple of weeks ago while I was lying in bed with a fever of 102 and browsing the myriad of channels on my television, I came upon a black-and-white movie from the 1940s called Mildred Pierce. The title sounded pretty vague, but due to my laziness and lack of motivation to change the channel, I decided to give it a shot. Bottom line: totally worth watching, even when you’re not sick in bed!

Mildred Pierce focuses on the interrogation of a woman, played by Joan Crawford, after police find the body of her wealthy second husband at their beach home. At first the police explain to Mildred that her first husband, Bert, has already confessed to killing her second husband, Monte Beragon, but Mildred denies that his confession is true, and so the film shifts to the chronological story of Mildred’s life.

Mildred has devoted her life to giving everything she can to her eldest daughter, Veda, who is ashamed of her mother’s job as a waitress and her low position in society. Mildred eventually is able to open her own successful chain of restaurants and begins a romance with one of the restaurant’s investors, Monte Beragon. However, Veda is drawn to Monte because he provides her with luxurious gifts, and the two begin to have a secret affair.

Joan Crawford was a powerful force in Hollywood during the late 1940s and 50s. According to Variety, Crawford won her only Oscar for Mildred Pierce, in which she was awarded with “best actress in a leading role.” Crawford was nominated for two other Academy Awards, and became a prominent business woman in Hollywood, a rare feat for a woman during that time period. Mildred Pierce and Joan Crawford represent early feminism and the idea that women can be business women, a notion that men and some women during Joan Crawford’s time period were not fond of.

I highly recommend watching Mildred Pierce for its dramatic twists and turns that will keep you on edge, and for its intriguing plot line that makes you squirm in your seat. I generally prefer watching romantic comedies and science fiction, but this film appealed to me because it consists of a tense plot line and fascinating main character.

In order to find out who killed Monte, a careless, scheming playboy, you’ll have to watch this movie. I find that the best movies are the ones that leave your jaw dropped open in disbelief at the end, and I definitely felt this throughout the movie. So the next time you open Netflix, embrace the lack of color and special effects and watch an excellent film, Mildred Pierce.

Image source: Classic Movie Favorites.

Comments are closed.