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Mildred Fierce

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Last week, Slate.com ran a fine appreciation of James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce which I managed to miss until today. Like the author, the Vintage paperback reissue served as my introduction to Cain. I was transfixed by how much more gritty and earthy the novel was compared to the movie. It was also interesting that Cain described Mildred as a petite woman with blonde curly hair and penetrating eyes — more a Bette Davis than Joan Crawford type. In the film, Ann Blyth plays the daughter (wonderfully) as a spoiled brat, but the novel’s Veda is a hundred times more insidious and manipulative. Plus, naturally, Cain supplies the story with a lot more evilness than anything the 1940s movie production code would allow. It’s a great read.

I also got a small kick out of this other Slate feature — classic lit book covers redone as pulp fiction. You just know that Lewis Carrol intended Alice to resemble a saucy little minx.

4 Thoughts on “Mildred Fierce

  1. Nancy on June 1, 2006 at 7:04 am said:

    I have never seen the movie or read the book, but it is forever linked in my mind to Carol Burnett’s fabulous “Mildred Fierce” take-off with Vicki Lawrence as the daughter.

    I should give the book a try- the article made a great case for it.

  2. Carol Burnett did a great Mildred, or more accurately Joan-as-Mildred.

  3. Matthew on June 13, 2006 at 4:17 pm said:

    Is there a copy of the Carol Burnett Show with her glorious rendering of “Mildred Fierce” available?

  4. There might have been a VHS release years ago, but as far as I know it’s not on DVD anywhere.

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