Mildred Pierce

Below you will find written and video materials to supplement your experience with this film. Be aware that some essays and video essays may contain spoilers.

Critical Essays

Filmsite Movie Review: Mildred Pierce (Filmsite)

‘Mildred Pierce’: One of the Greatest Hollywood Comeback Stories (Cinephilia & Beyond)

Mildred Pierce (1945) Review (Little White Lies)

Mildred Pierce and Women in Film (American Quarterly)

Todd Haynes’s “Mildred Pierce”: A Discussion (Film Quarterly)

Contextual Reading

Film Noir: Five Part Summary

The Feminine Grotesque: On the Warped Legacy of Joan Crawford

Memorable Mother Figures in Film

The Essentials: 5 of Michael Curtiz’ Greatest Films


Mildred Pierce

LIVE Twitter Watch Party on May 13th, 2021

Our next film is Mildred Pierce (1945), directed by Michael Curtiz.

To honor Mother’s Day we have selected the noir classic Mildred Pierce for our May movie. It’s a dramatic thriller with underlying social commentary and plenty of twists. The film is directed by Michael Curtiz of Casablanca fame, and features the legendary Joan Crawford in a comeback role that would earn her the Oscar for best lead actress.

Crawford plays the titular character, a single mother doing everything she can to protect and provide for her children; whether it means breaking into a male-dominated business or breaking the law. Mildred navigates complex relationships with her spoiled eldest daughter, her ex-husband, and a pair of suitors who also assist her business ventures. The film is a testament to a mother’s dedication, as well as an examination of class and gender issues that were becoming more visible as women joined the work force during and after WWII. Tucked within the central murder mystery is a social drama that was in many ways ahead of its time.

Mildred Pierce will be our only film for May as we all wrap up the semester. To celebrate we hope you will join us for a live Twitter watch party, in lieu of our usual Slack discussion. How does it work? Simple! At 8:00 on May 13th we all click “play” and use the hashtag #SPSWatchParty to tweet along with other participating students, staff, and alums. It’s sure to be a lot of fun!

Mildred Pierce is available for free on the Internet Archive website, and is also available for rent on iTunes, YouTube, Amazon, and Google Play. Also be sure to check out our resources page for additional essays and videos!