Joan Crawford's famous film Mildred Pierce is coming back in the HBO series with Kate Winslet as the ever loving mother of her scornful brat Veda. Mildred bakes pies to keep the roof overhead, Veda in piano lessons, and amasses a fortune. Sort of like the Martha Stewart of the post-depression era. The brat ridicules Mildred, but takes the roof and piano lessons. Sort of like Alexis Stewart's program, Whatever Martha.
Pierce may have been one of Crawford's more heroic roles, but her spookiest film belongs to good old Harriet Craig or Craig's Wife. Harriet was nasty, or maybe she just wanted a neat house with surgical theater standards. Who doesn't want a clean house?
"Do you have to put your cigar out in the left-over cannelloni?"
Kate Winslet is supposed to bring erotica to Mildred Pierce. Well, good luck. While she received an Oscar for The Reader, (boring) a greater performance was ignored in The Holiday. Winslet could easily be the next Mrs. Miniver. And what a relief it would be to see her cast as a good mother, wife, neighbor, reader, cook, driver and house keeper who manages to captures a German pilot while husband Walter Pidgeon is rescuing troops stranded during Dunkirk. Whew.
The saddest of the old film ladies must be Stella Dallas, portrayed by Barbara Stanwyck of Big Valley fame. Big Valley Stanwyck would have whipped Stella into shape. Stella didn't have any clothes sense, or house keeping sense, or cooking sense, or judgment in relationships, or anything else. Ahead of her time, she was wearing John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and torpedo bra Jean Paul Gaultier all at the same time.
One lady who could play Mildred Pierce, Harriet Craig, Mrs. Miniver and Stella Dallas is our own Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She's cleaning up the middle-east Harriet Craig style, (it's happening under her watch) whipping up more pies of good will around the world and though her pantsuits aren't up to Stella Dallas Mad Max style, her judgment and words are Mrs. Miniver correct. She also has a sweet daughter.
"Ma, you going into pictures?"