Saturday, January 23, 2010

Well here's a thing... Kate Winslet is taking on MILDRED PIERCE, the role that won Joan Crawford her Academy Award for Best Actress in the 1945 film.

She is following up her award-winning big screen roles in THE READER and REVOLUTIONARY ROAD with an HBO mini-series based on the James M. Cain novel.

Director Todd Haynes will be able to be truer to the spirit of the book then Michael Curtiz was in 1945 which was as compromised by the censorship of the day as Tay Garnett was when he filmed Cain's THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE in 1946.

However I have always felt that ratcheted up the sexual tension - I'd rather watch Lana Turner and John Garfield sizzling up the screen than miserable Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange.
Cain's hard-boiled stories also included the source for a third classic film noir, Billy Wilder's DOUBLE INDEMNITY.

MILDRED PIERCE however is more about sexual jealousy and class. Mildred is a housewife with two daughters who will do anything to give them a better life. Her blinkered devotion to her eldest daughter Veda leads not only to the break-up of her marriage but also to hiding the fact that she is working as a waitress as her daughter would consider it beneath them. Through a lucky break she opens a chain of restaurants and attracts the attention of a rich playboy who she marries to give Veda the social circle she craves.

Soon however, Mildred realises just what a viperous serpent she has been nurturing...

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