Mildred Pierce is the greatest novel by James M. Cain in 1941, which was adapted for the movie in 1945. It was an American film noir, directed by Michael Curtiz. The scenario was written by Ranald MacDougall, William Faulkner, and Kathryn Tёrni. The movie has brought the long-awaited Oscar to the Hollywood film star Joan Crawford. In 1996, the Library of Congress has included Mildred Pierce in the National Film Registry.
Even though the movie is based on the novel, they are very different from each other. James M. Cain sent several letters to the producer of the movie, Jerry Wald, stating about his objections to the changes he wanted to make, especially the dramatic changes associated with Veda. The three main differences between the novel and the film are the murder of Monte, Veda not having a successful career, and the time period, which only covers the years from 1941 to 1945.
The changes were connected with two facts. One is that stories that are shown on the screen have to fit into an allotted time. The other thins is the production code setting all the rules that need to be adhered to. The studio did everything for the movie to be relatable and acceptable to audiences.
The murder added by Hollywood was the main change. Right from the beginning of the movies, the audience thinks about who the killer is. In the novel, the author doesn’t make the reader guess it.
The other difference is that Veda and Bert get married because she is pregnant. In the novel, Veda throws this fact in the face of her mother. The other omission is the abortion described in the book. In the movie, the pregnancy was a fake and was used by Veda to gain independence and money from her mother. Screenplay also omitted all the sexual scenes of Veda and her step-father. In the novel, Mildred finds them in bed, but there is no mention of that in the movie.
In the novel, Mildred has sexy relationships both with Monte and Wally. The movie doesn’t concentrate on this characterization, emphasizing that the events at the beach were unacceptable.
In the novel, Mildred is much younger and more insecure about her social status than in the movie. Bert is also different in the novel and in the movie – he is a gentler, momma’s boy, and rather spineless in the novel, while in the movie he is the one the audience is supposed to suspect in the murder.
Despite the differences it is worth reading the novel and watching the film in order to spot all the differences yourself.
Mildred Pierce is the greatest novel by James M. Cain in 1941, which was adapted for the movie in 1945. It was an American film noir, directed by Michael Curtiz. The scenario was written by Ranald MacDougall, William Faulkner, and Kathryn Tёrni. The movie has brought the long-awaited Oscar to the Hollywood film star Joan Crawford.