Posts Tagged ‘ film ’

Origin and Destiny in Mildred Pierce

The Ranald MacDougall authored screenplay of Mildred Pierce diverges from the 1946 Joan Crawford film in its underscoring of class. The Mildred of the screenplay lacks the glamour and sophistication of Joan Crawford, and it is the lack of these very qualities that inform Veda’s hatred. Veda makes this hatred blatantly apparent in scene 260, with the words: “You still don’t understand, do you? You think new curtains are enough to make me happy. […] No. I want more than that …  I want the kind of life that Monte taught me. And you won’t give it to me. The way you live isn’t good enough for me” (MacDougall 211-212). The point is that Mildred of the screenplay cannot give Veda the kind of life that she wants because it is not predicated on material goods and consumerism, but on social standing and the entitlement that come from having been born into money. It is simply not possible to work one’s way up the social ladder in this reality, something that Veda underscores further with the words: “You think now you’ve made a little money you can get yourself a new hairdo and some expensive clothes and turn yourself into a lady, but you can’t, because you’ll never be anything but a common frump, whose father lived over a grocery store and whose mother took in washing” (MacDougall 201). In MacDougall’s screenplay, origin is destiny. The film, however, effaces this reading. The Pierce family of the film are positioned on a higher-rung of the class ladder in the first place and thus, for them, there is less at stake and less of a schism between where they start the film and where they end up. 

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Stray Dogs – Richard Kern

If only David Lynch films were this short…