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Mildred Pierce Movie Poster
Plot, Details & Awards

Mildred Pierce

(1945)
Not Rated In Theaters 10/20/1945 , 113min.
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Plot & Details

Joan Crawford won an Academy Award for her bravura portrayal of the titular heroine in Mildred Pierce. The original James M. Cain novel concerns a wife and mother who works her way to financial security to provide a rosy future for her beloved daughter, but encounters difficulties and tragedies along the way. Ranald McDougall's screenplay tones down the sexual content, enhancing its film noir value by adding a sordid murder. The film opens with oily lounge lizard Monte Beragon (Zachary Scott) being pumped full of bullets. Croaking out the name "Mildred", he collapses and dies. Both the police and the audience are led to believe that the murderer is chain-restaurant entrepreneur Mildred Pierce (Crawford), who takes the time to relate some of her sordid history. As the flashback begins, we see Mildred unhappily married to philandering Bert Pierce (Bruce Bennett). She divorces him, keeping custody of her two beloved daughters, Veda (Ann Blyth) and Kay (Jo Anne Marlowe). To keep oldest daughter Veda in comparative luxury, Mildred ends up taking a waitressing position at a local restaurant. With the help of slimy real estate agent Wally Fay (Jack Carson), she eventually buys her own establishment, which grows into a chain of restaurants throughout Southern California. Meanwhile, Mildred smothers Veda in affection and creature comforts. She goes so far as to enter into a loveless marriage with the wealthy Monty Beragon in order to improve her social standing; Beragon repays the favor by living the life of a layabout playboy, much to Mildred's dismay -- and possible financial ruin.

Awards

Academy Awards

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1945 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Black and White Cinematography Ernest Haller Nominated
1945 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Supporting Actress Eve Arden Nominated
1945 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Picture Nominated
1945 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Screenplay Ranald MacDougall Nominated
1945 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Supporting Actress Ann Blyth Nominated
1945 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Actress Joan Crawford Won

Library of Congress

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1996 Library of Congress U.S. National Film Registry Won

National Board of Review

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1945 National Board of Review Best Actress Joan Crawford Won

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