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Melodrama casts noirish shadows in this portrait of maternal sacrifice from Hollywood master Michael Curtiz. Its iconic performance by Joan Crawford as Mildred, a single mother hell-bent on freeing her children from the stigma of economic hardship, solidified Crawford’s career comeback and gave the actor her only Oscar. But as Mildred pulls herself up by the bootstraps, first as an unflappable waitress and eventually as the well-heeled owner of a successful restaurant chain, the ingratitude of her materialistic firstborn (a diabolical Ann Blyth) becomes a venomous serpent’s tooth, setting in motion an endless cycle of desperate overtures and heartless recriminations. Recasting James M. Cain’s rich psychological novel as a murder mystery, this bitter cocktail of blind parental love and all-American ambition is both unremittingly hard-boiled and sumptuously emotional.

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Special Features New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray New conversation with critics Molly Haskell and Robert Polito Excerpt from a 1970 episode of The David Frost Show featuring actor Joan Crawford Joan Craw­ford: The Ultimate Movie Star, a 2002 feature-length documentary Q&A with actor Ann Blyth from 2006, presented by Marc Huestis and conducted by film historian Eddie Muller at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco Segment from a 1969 episode of the Today show featuring Mildred Pierce novelist James M. Cain Trailer PLUS: An essay by critic Imogen Sara Smith

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CC860 Mildred Pierce DVD (1945/Joan Crawford) $29.95 $26.99