Mildred Pierce (1945)

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Title: Mildred Pierce [IMDb]

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Release date: October 20, 1945
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 111 minutes
IMDB genres: crime, drama, film-noir, mystery, romance
BYU holdings: https://search.lib.byu.edu/byu/record/lee.6794541

Synopsis [hide]

A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter.

Plot keywords (from IMDb): 17 year old, accountant, actress, adultery, african american, alligator, annulment, apology, arizona, baker, baking a pie, ballet class, ballroom dancing, bandaging a hand, banging on a door, bank check, based on novel, beach, beach house, begging for help, bill, birthday, birthday cake, birthday party, black american, black doll, blackmail, borrowing money, bourbon, boy, break up, breaking a glass window, broken glass, butterfly collection, buying a husband, cafe, cake, camera, camera shot of a woman's legs, car as gift, car won't start, carmen miranda imitation, cash register, caught in the rain, champagne, character name in title, cheating husband, chicken, cigarette case, cigarette smoking, circular staircase, class, class differences, climbing out a window, community property, contemplating suicide, convertible, corsage, costume, cough foreshadows death, coughing, cover up, creditor, crying, cutting one's hand on broken glass, dancer, dancing, dancing school, dead body, death, death of child, death of daughter, death of husband, death of sister, debt, detective, deviousness, discovering a dead body, divorce, doctor, doll, dress, dressing room, drink, drinking, dysfunctional family, dysfunctional marriage, eating, estate, estranged daughter, ex husband ex wife relationship, extortion, extramarital affair, face slap, faked pregnancy, false confession, family betrayal, fancy dress, father daughter relationship, female protagonist, female singer, financial crisis, financial settlement, fireplace, flash camera, flash forward, flashlight, flirting, flower, food, football, for sale sign, fortune, fortune teller, frame up, framed butterfly, fur coat, gin rummy, girl, giving a toast, glendale california, greed, gullibility, hand wound, homecoming, housewife, husband murdered, husband wife relationship, in medias res, infidelity, intercom, investigation, investigator, jealousy, jukebox, kicking one's daughter out of one's home, kiss, kissing someone's neck, kitchen, ladder, laguna beach california, lake arrowhead, lawyer, leitmotif, liar, lie, lighting a cigarette for a woman, lighting someone's cigarette, locked door, locked in, locust, loneliness, looking for a job, looking through a window, loss of daughter, love, loveless marriage, maid, mail, manipulation, marital separation, marriage, marriage engagement, marriage proposal, mexico, mirror, money, mother and daughter in love with the same man, mother daughter relationship, mother love, mother son relationship, motherhood, murder, murder of husband, narcissism, newspaper, nightclub, nurse, older man younger woman relationship, opening a restaurant, opera, opportunist, orchestra, orchestral music score, orchid, oxygen tent, partnership, pasadena california, photograph, photographer, piano, piano player, pie, plague, playboy, playing piano, pneumonia, police, police station, policeman, polo, pregnancy, pretending to be pregnant, pride, promise, proverb, pulling skirt down to cover knees, rain, real estate agent, record player, reference to little red riding hood, reference to the big bad wolf, reference to the prodigal daughter, reporter, resentment toward husband, resentment toward wife, restaurant, restaurant cashier, restaurant chain, restaurateur, rum collins, sailor, scotch and soda, scrubbing the floor, search light, searchlight, self sacrifice, shadow, shoes, shot multiple times, sick child, singer, singing, singing lesson, single mother, sister sister relationship, snobbishness, snoop, social climber, socialite, song, source music, spiral staircase, spoiled child, street football, suicide contemplation, suicide intervention, suitcase, swimming, swimsuit, symphonic music score, taking the fall, taxi, tea, tear on cheek, tearing up a bank check, tears, teen angst, teenage girl, telephone, telephone call, telephone disconnected, threat of bankruptcy, title spoken by character, told in flashback, tomboy, train, tribulation, unemployment, unfaithfulness, ungrateful daughter, viciousness, voice lesson, voice over narration, waitress, waitress uniform, waitress wearing a string bikini, wealth, wedding present, wolf whistle, woman in a bikini, woman wearing a mink coat, work uniform, flashback

Cast and Crew

Joan CrawfordMildred Pierce
Jack CarsonWally Fay
Zachary ScottMonte Beragon
Eve ArdenIda Corwin
Ann BlythVeda Pierce
Bruce BennettBert Pierce
Lee PatrickMrs. Maggie Biederhof
Moroni OlsenInspector Peterson
Veda Ann BorgMiriam Ellis
Jo Ann MarloweKay Pierce
Butterfly McQueenLottie

Michael Curtiz: director

Max Steiner: composer

Leo F. Forbstein: musical director

Hugo Friedhofer: orchestrator

Film Statistics

Film duration: 1:50:43
Music duration: 01:02:22
Pages in score: 160
Total themes: 36
Themes with variants: 8
Total variants: 78
Total gestures: 32
Total underscoring sections: 7
Total underscoring duration: 00:04:47
Total instances: 174


Name Uses Variants
Mildred 41 30
Kay and Veda 31 25
Work 8 6
Bert 7 6
It Can't Be Wrong 7 6
Mildred B 6 3
Secret Revealed 3 0
Pneumonia 2 1
Walking 2 0
Allegretto 1 0
Ballet Lesson 1 0
Bathing Suit 1 0
Beach House 1 0
First Kiss 1 0
French One-Step 1 0
Frolicking in the Surf 1 0
Hall of Justice 1 0
Hopes Crushed 1 0
Murdered Man 1 0
Signature 1 0
Stunned Reaction 1 0
The Maid 1 0
Transition 1 0
While You're Away 1 0

Other films borrowed from:

The Life of Vergie Winters (1934)

Sweepings (1933)

Now, Voyager (1942)

My Reputation (1946)


Name Uses
Mazurka in B-Flat Major + Mildred 1

Source Music

Name Uses
Mazurka in B-Flat Major 2
Waltz Brillante 2
You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby 2
Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes 1
How Sweet You Are 1
It Had to Be You 1
Oceana Roll 1
Please Think of Me 1
South American Way 1
Sweet Georgia Brown 1
T'Ain't No Good 1


Breaks door with chair
Breaks glass
Closes blinds
Cops walk
Flashback ends
Flashback starts
Flashback starts 2
Glass falls
Glasses clink
Kay falls
Lamp falls
Mildred raises Veda
Mildred sits
Mildred stands and walks to window
Monte is shot
Monte is shot 2
Opens closet
Opens coat
Order wheel spins
Phone rings
Runs upstairs
Rushing train
Wally goes upstairs
Wally knocks on the door
Wally runs
Wally sneaks
Wally stands up and walks
Wally tries to open door
Wally walks
Waves rumbling