Joan Crawford is at her finest in Mildred Pierce with her Oscar-winning role as James M. Cain’s sacrificing mother who rises from waitress to restaurant-chain owner only to find her undoing in a mean-spirited, ungrateful daughter, Ann Blyth.
A first-class soap directed with deft aplomb by Warner A-teamer Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, 1942). The title role, which revived Crawford’s career, was reportedly first offered to Bette Davis and Barbara Stanwyck before producer Jerry Wald was approached by Crawford.
James M. Cain, who wrote the novel that became Mildred Pierce, sent a first edition of the book to star Joan Crawford. His inscription read, “To Joan Crawford, who brought Mildred to life … and who has my life-long gratitude.
Academy Award Nominations: 6, including Best Picture; Best (Adapted) Screenplay; Best Supporting Actress: Eve Arden and Ann Blyth.
Cast: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, Ann Blyth, Bruce Bennett, George Tobias, Lee Patrick, Moroni Olsen
Director: Michael Curtiz
Producer: Jerry Wald
Editor: David Weisbart
Composer: Max Steiner
Screenwriter: Ranald MacDougall
Production Designer: Anton Grot
USA / Warner Bros. / 120 minutes / 1945