Six shots fired and a man falls down dead. Shortly thereafter, we meet a desperate Mildred Pierce who walks along the streets of the night. After a policeman prevented her from jumping into the river, she ends up at a bar where an old acquaintance flirts uncontrollably. They go to her house on the beach, from Mildred suddenly quickly departs. It turns out that it was in this house that the man was shot and soon the police on the spot. During interrogation begins the story of what led up to that fateful night. Mildred tells how she differs from her husband, working upward as a business woman and how she is willing to do absolutely everything to their already spoiled daughter Veda.
Mildred Pierce literally sparkles. Director Michael Curtiz, probably best known for Casablanca, knows how to get the luxurious feel of a grand noir drama. Elegant small transitions, meticulous and dramatic lighting applications, all in classic Hollywood manner, where nothing is left to chance.
The dialog is fabulous. Mildred's right hand Ida is so cool, with the hatching of witty one-liners. Even the ever-swarming Wally Fay is constantly exciting to listen to.
The story in itself is exciting, where you always know roughly how it will end, but not why or what role some of the characters will play. The characters are the driving force. It's about Mildred's efforts to give their daughters the life she had wanted, although it also means she does not listen to what they really want. Then there is a former spouse who is living his new life in the periphery, the friend who is helpful, but not without being sure to reap the rewards of Mildred's success and even a new one that might not be what he appears to be.
Crawford got a well-deserved Oscar for this film.
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