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After almost two decades at
MGM, Crawford left the studio in search
of better roles and landed one at
Warner Bros. she could
really sink her teeth into -- that of the title character in MILDRED PIERCE, a working class woman
whose ambitions to make a better life for herself and her family both succeed
and fail simultaneously. Flanked by solid supporting performances by the likes
of Jack Carson (as the good-hearted
rascal), Zachary Scott (as the debonair reprobate), and
Eve Arden (as the cynical wit), Crawford's earnest performance in this romantic drama
earned the actress her first Academy Award nomination and the only Best Actress
Oscar of her career.
Video Clip from MILDRED PIERCE (1945):
"I'll get you everything, anything you want" (a .MOV file).
(For help opening any of the multimedia files, visit the
Mildred and her conniving daughter Vita (Ann Blyth) in MILDRED PIERCE (1945):
"I don't like this house mother." --Vita.
"Neither do I, but that's no reason for
me to marry a man I'm not in love with." --Mildred.
"Why not?" --Vita.
"Vita! Does a new house mean so much to
you that you would trade me for it?" --Mildred.
"I didn't mean it, mother. I don't care
what we have as long as we're together. It's just that there are so many
things that I... that we should have and haven't got." --Vita.
"I know, darling. I know. I
want you to have nice things." --Mildred (a .MP2 file).
In HUMORESQUE (1946), Crawford plays Helen Wright, a wealthy society woman who
falls in love with and sponsors a young violinist (Van Heflin) but comes to
resent his commitment to his music.
As actress Myra Hudson in SUDDEN FEAR (1952), a noir thriller co-starring Jack
Palance and Gloria Grahame that marked one
of the last good roles of Crawford's career. She received her third and
final Oscar nomination for this performance.
With Bette Davis in WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY
JANE? (1962), the first of the series of campy horror movies that dominated the
final decade of Crawford's film career.
- Femme Noir: The Bad Girls of Film by Karen Burroughs Hannsberry
(Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1998).
- The Golden Girls of MGM by Jane Ellen Wayne (New York: Carroll &
- The power of glamour: the women who defined the magic of stardom
by Annette Tapert and Ellen Horan (New York: Crown, 1998).
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