Thursday, August 6, 2015
Must See TV: Mildred Pierce (Miniseries)
I was reluctant to give this remake of the classic Mildred Pierce a chance. Frankly I don't like the movie industry always feeling the impulse to remake a movie. I find very few remakes to be as good as the original. I'm not a purist when it comes to film or television, just someone who is a fan of knowing when stuff is good and feeling strongly that doesn't need improvement.
I caved in when I found this remake on Netflix and popped it into my dvd player not knowing if it would live up to the masterpiece that was the original that came out 1945, starring Joan Crawford and Ann Blyth.
First difference is that this remake is a miniseries so it definitely delves into characters a lot deeper because there is time to do it in the span of 5 long episodes. I loved learning more on how Mildred progressed from scorned housewife to successful business woman to then complete the circle and finally choose herself above her daughter.
The fashion and details in the miniseries were a absolute visual delight. I appreciated the work the creators behind the miniseries took to recreating Mildred's world because the world she lived in is a character as well.
I confess that I enjoyed Kate Winslet's portrayal of Mildred better in some ways which surprised me but I loved Ann Blyth's performance as Mildred's daughter, Veda in the original film better. I couldn't help but feel sometimes like I wanted to cut and paste between the two pieces of work and recreate the perfect version of Mildred Pierce.
I don't know if you are aware but its based on a book written by James M. Cain and published in 1941. It seems that this version is the one that was made exactly how the book was written. The ending in the original film has Veda killing her stepfather and going to jail. The ending in the miniseries and book is vastly different so you should be aware of that. It disappointed some and not others. I liked both actually. The reason the original has the murder put in is because at the time there was a policy in the studios to have characters who were bad pay the price for their indiscretions.
I can say now that I am really glad I watched it. I could have watched Kate Winslet play Mildred for hours on end. She was that good. I understood more about her complex character. I liked how she was both vulnerable and strong and you can see how and why she became the way she was. You can see it a bit in Joan's performance but I find Joan's face harsh in appearance in the film and I that has always distracted me.
Have you seen this remake of Mildred Pierce? What did you think? Have you read the book or seen the original film?