"Mildred Pierce" opens in noir fashion with Monte Beragon (Zachary Scott) being shot. He murmurs the name "Mildred" as he collapses and dies. The police are led to believe that the murderer is restaurant owner Mildred Pierce's (Joan Crawford) first husband, Bert Pierce, who under interrogation confesses to the crime. In flashback we see housewife Mildred unhappily married to unemployed Bert Pierce (Bruce Bennett). Beragon at the time was a real estate partner of Wally Fay (Jack Carson), and propositioned Mildred after learning that she and Bert were about to divorce. In the divorce, Mildred obtained custody of her two daughters: 16-year-old Veda (Blyth), a snobbish social climber and aspiring pianist, and 10-year-old Kay (Jo Anne Marlowe). Joan Crawford won an Academy Award for her portrayal of the titular heroine in "Mildred Pierce".
"Starting with the last gasp of the Victorian era, women bounced like pinballs through the suffrage movement, the liberated Jazz Age, the Depression, the era of WACs, WAVES, and factory work, and finally the '50s, when Rosie the Riveter exchanged her coveralls for Betty Crocker's apron. Chaperoning American women through these somersaults, Hollywood undertook a series of re-education campaigns disguised as entertainments. The "woman's picture" of the '30s and '40s established strong, eccentric actresses as role models for the female audience. Together, they constitute a dictionary definition of the elusive term "bitch-goddess". Playing nice, they're unremarkable; playing tough, they're stars. The documentaries and featurettes on The Bette Davis Collection and The Joan Crawford Collection repeat anecdotes about the stars' larger-than-life off-camera personalities.
George Cukor's The Women, with its all-female whirl of gossip, divorce, affairs, and catfights, sets the tone for both sets. Crawford plays a perfume salesgirl who dallies with Norma Shearer's husband, and the 1939 movie typecast Crawford for a time as a low-caste shop-hand with champagne dreams". Source: www.avclub.com
Vogue US March 2011: Evan Rachel Wood in “Pure Country” photoshoot
Mildred Pierce with Kate Winslet and Evan Rachel Wood in Todd Haynes's remake of the 1945 Joan Crawford classic, as a five-part mini-series on HBO, beginning on 27th March 2011
3. Kate Winslet Convinced Evan Rachel Wood To Get Naked For The Show
It's exactly what it sounds like. For the TL;DR crowd: Evan Rachel Wood was a tidge nervous, and Kate Winslet essentially sat her down and said "Listen, I've been naked on camera eight-million times. It's like a club."
4. Kate Winslet Is In Every Damn Scene
Kate Winslet, who looks pleasantly like a real woman who has lived and aged and eaten things that are meat, is in every friggin' scene. Considering that shooting schedules are generally twelve hour days every day, this is kind of like running a marathon, except the marathon lasts the amount of time it takes to shoot a five hour miniseries. In the words of costume designer Ann Roth, "She had sixty-six [costume] changes in this. That's more than a person can deal with."
5. The Lead Characters Are Both Women
Strong women! Strong, well-written women! Mildred and Veda are like two sides of a self-possessed coin. Mildred is a self-made woman with a weakness for the people she loves. Veda has little love for anyone, but her charisma has its own gravitational pull. Men are ancillary in this story, a big-budget HBO-stravaganza, and that is refreshing". Source: www.ology.com