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directed by Michael Curtiz
USA 19
45

 

Melodrama casts noirish shadows in this portrait of maternal sacrifice from Hollywood master Michael Curtiz. Its iconic performance by Joan Crawford as Mildred, a single mother hell-bent on freeing her children from the stigma of economic hardship, solidified Crawford’s career comeback and gave the actor her only Oscar. But as Mildred pulls herself up by the bootstraps, first as an unflappable waitress and eventually as the well-heeled owner of a successful restaurant chain, the ingratitude of her materialistic firstborn (a diabolical Ann Blyth) becomes a venomous serpent’s tooth, setting in motion an endless cycle of desperate overtures and heartless recriminations. Recasting James M. Cain’s rich psychological novel as a murder mystery, this bitter cocktail of blind parental love and all-American ambition is both unremittingly hard-boiled and sumptuously emotional..

***

What Veda wants, her mother Mildred Pierce provides. Even if Mildred must end her middle-class marriage, climb atop the male-dominated business world and marry a wealthy man she doesn't love. "I'll do anything," Mildred says in explaining her love for her daughter. But does anything include murder? Just when you think you got this nominee for five other Oscars including Best Picture figured out, along comes a shocking twist ending!

     

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 24th, 1945

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Comparison:

Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC LEFT

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Covers

 

  

  

  

Also available from Criterion on Blu-ray in the UK on February 27th, 2017:

or buy the Entire Joan Crawford Collection with Humoresque, Possessed, The Damned Don't Cry, The Women and Mildred Pierce

    

    

Warner -  Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 860 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:50:40  1:51:00.737
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.24 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.37:1 1080P / 23.976 fps

Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,732,257,800 bytes

Feature: 29,969,633,280 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Bitrate: Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English (HoH), Spanish, French, None English (SDH), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Acclaimed feature length documentary Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star
• Crawford Trailer Gallery

DVD Release Date: February 4th, 2003 - Reissue - June 14th, 2005
Original issue is in 'Snapper Case' and new edition in Amaray Keep case
Chapters: 34

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

1.37:1 1080P / 23.976 fps

Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,732,257,800 bytes

Feature: 29,969,633,280 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

New conversation with critics Molly Haskell and Robert Polito (22:59)
Excerpt from a 1970 episode of The David Frost Show featuring actor Joan Crawford (15:02)
Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star, a 2002 feature-length documentary (1:27:05)
Q&A with actor Ann Blyth from 2006, presented by Marc Huestis and conducted by film historian Eddie Muller at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco (23:56)
Segment from a 1969 episode of the Today show featuring Mildred Pierce novelist James M. Cain (10:07)
Trailer (2:19)
PLUS: An essay by critic Imogen Sara Smith

Blu-ray Release Date:
February 21st, 201
7
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - January 2017: Criterion's 1080P is cited as a "New 4K digital restoration". It advances in a few important areas over SD with the higher resolution exporting better layered contrast, there are hints of rich texture and the ratio seems more correct (where the SD was vertically stretched). It's clean and carries a film-like thickness (via the grain) and in-motion, the 1080P produces a very satisfying HD image with a notable amount more information on the bottom and right edges of the screen.

Criterion go linear PCM, in authentic mono. It is 24-bit, flat but carries some pleasing resonance evident in the the iconic Max Steiner (Key Largo, Casablanca, The Caine Mutiny, Bird of Paradise, Beyond the Forest, Pursued etc. etc.) score. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on the Region 'A' Blu-ray disc.

Like the DVD Criterion include Peter Fitzgerald's 2002 TV documentary Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star, running over 1.5 hours (in HD). It has Anjelica Huston, Diane Baker, daughter Christina Crawford (Author of 'Mommie Dearest'), Judy Geeson, Virginia Grey, Margaret O'Brien, Betsy Palmer and others reminiscing about her acting and character. Criterion include a new, 23-minute, conversation with critics Molly Haskell and Robert Polito and they discuss both the book and Michael Curtiz's 1945 film. I enjoyed seeing a 1/4 hour excerpt from a 1970 episode of The David Frost Show featuring Crawford and a 24-minute Q&A with actor Ann Blyth from 2006, presented by Marc Huestis and conducted by film historian Eddie Muller at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. There is also a 10-minute segment from a 1969 episode of the Today show featuring Mildred Pierce novelist James M. Cain and a trailer. The package contains a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Imogen Sara Smith.

A melodramatic film noir, Mildred Pierce remains a classic with fine performances, a grand Hollywood' story and details like the opening credits washing onto the screen from the ocean in the background. Criterion's Blu-ray gives the best home presentation I have yet seen and the film has a noble appeal - centered in a very special time for filmmaking and the stars of the era. Our highest recommendation!

Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVD: Perhaps mildly saturated, this is still another excellent DVD from Warner. Like the original it still has the extras on the opposite side (Geez Warner - couldn't you have improved upon that!) and exactly the same image, audio etc. It is essentially the same disc in an amaray keep case instead of a Snapper. Arguably the best film of the boxset - Warner should have added something from the initial release - if not improving the already strong image then putting it on one dual layered DVD would have been a the way to go.  out of    

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus


Extras on second side of original disc

 


Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 



CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC TOP

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC TOP

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC TOP

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

  

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Covers

 

  

  

  

Also available from Criterion on Blu-ray in the UK on February 27th, 2017:

or buy the Entire Joan Crawford Collection with Humoresque, Possessed, The Damned Don't Cry, The Women and Mildred Pierce

    

    

Warner -  Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 860 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...