MILDRED PIERCE (1945)

Dir. Michael Curtiz

"Please don't tell what Mildred Pierce did!" begged the ads for this feminist film noir, but it was really Mildred's daughter, Veda, who had all the secrets. MILDRED PIERCE would be remembered as one of the greatest comeback vehicles of all time, rescuing Joan Crawford from the label "box office poison" to bring her a long-overdue Best Actress Oscar. Feminists have hailed its portrayal of a strong working woman whose ambition turns a job as a waitress into a fast-food empire. For all that, however, one of the picture's chief attractions remains its assault on the image of the nuclear family with the depiction of venal, vicious Veda, one of the most wicked children in Hollywood history. Though usually typed as a good girl at Universal Pictures and, later, MGM, Ann Blyth, who is in attendance at this screening, beat out Shirley Temple to play the deadly daughter whose sins escalate from snobbery to a faked pregnancy to even darker deeds. With Crawford, Eve Arden, Zachary Scott and Jack Carson, she helped make this one of the most unforgettable melodramas ever made.

In attendance: Ann Blyth.

MILDRED PIERCE
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