Mildred Pierce (film)

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From the trailer for the film

Mildred Pierce is a 1945 film noir about a woman who proves she can become independent and successful after her cheating husband leaves her, but can't win the approval of her spoiled daughter.

Directed by Michael Curtiz. Written by Ranald MacDougall, based on the novel by James M. Cain.
In her heart of hearts she knew it would happen this way! (taglines)


Wally: You mean you busted up?...For good? Bert must be crazy...You know, I, uh, I never did mind being around you, Mildred.
Mildred: You don't, by any chance, hear opportunity knocking, do you?
Wally: Not too much ice in that drink you're about to make for me. I like Scotch.
Mildred: [knowingly] I know what you like.
Wally: With soda. You know I've always been a little soft in the head where you're concerned.
Mildred: You surprise me.
Wally: No, this is on the level. Bert's gone. OK. I figure maybe there's a chance for me now. You know I wouldn't drop dead at the idea of marrying you.
Mildred: Quit kidding, will you?
Wally: No, I figure maybe one of these days, you might have a weak moment.
Mildred: If I do, I'll send you a telegram - collect.
Wally: Easy on the ice please, will ya?...No soda?
Mildred: Sorry, Bert never had it around.
Wally: We'll take care of that...Say when.
Mildred: Not for me, I'm not used to it.
Wally: Take care of that too.
Mildred: You're pretty sure of yourself, aren't you?
Wally: You got to be educated, Mildred. You've just joined the biggest army in the world...the great American institution that never gets mentioned on the Fourth of July...a grass widow with two children to support.
Mildred: Wally, why don't you make an effort to grow up?
Wally: Why don't you make an effort to forget Bert?
Mildred: Maybe I don't want to.
Wally: But you'll be lonesome, Mildred. You're not the kind of a woman who can get along by herself.
Mildred: Well I can try.
Wally: Oh come on, get wise. [He advances for a kiss]
Mildred: [she pushes him away] Wally! You should be kept on a leash. Now why can't you be friendly?
Wally: [grinning] But I am being friendly.
Mildred: Now I mean it. Friendship is much more lasting than love.
Wally: Yeah, but it isn't as entertaining. [He pulls her close and kisses her on the lips. She reacts with annoyance.]
Mildred: Cut it out, Wally. You make me feel just like Little Red Riding Hood.
Wally: And I'm the Big Bad Wolf, huh? Naw, Mildred, you got me wrong. I'm a romantic guy but I'm no wolf.
Mildred: Then quit howling! I know you romantic guys. One crack about the beautiful moon and you're off to the races.
Wally: Especially when it looks like a sure thing. [He tries to kiss her again]
Mildred: Here we go again.
Wally: Did I do something wrong?
Mildred: You'd better go Wally.
Wally: No dice, huh?
Mildred: Good night.
Wally: Well, no dice, no dice. You can't shoot a guy for trying. I just thought maybe if...Ah, Mildred, I was only kidding. I wouldn't pull any cheap trick like that on you. You know that.
Mildred: Yes, I know.
Wally: Why, I...
Mildred: [She opens the door] I said good night, Wally.
Wally: OK. OK. Round one goes to Mildred Pierce.
Mildred: There won't be any round two.
Wally: We live in hope. I'll keep on trying.
Mildred: I know. Once a week.
Wally: [He holds up two fingers] Twice a week.

Veda: [about Wally] You could marry him if you wanted to...if you married him, maybe we could have a maid like we used to, and a limousine, and maybe a new house. I don't like this house, Mother.
Mildred: Veda, does a new house mean so much to you that you would trade me for it?
Veda: 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 [pause] - that we should have, and haven't got.
Mildred: I know, darling, I know. I want you to have nice things. And you will have. Wait and see. I'll get you everything. Anything you want. I promise.
Veda: How?
Mildred: I don't know. But I will. I promise. I love you, Veda.
Veda: I love you, Mother. Really I do. [Mildred hugs her] But let's not be sticky about it.

Veda: If you bought the uniform for Lottie, and I certainly can't imagine who else you could have bought it for, then why shouldn't she wear it?
Mildred: You've been snooping around ever since I got this job, trying to find out what it is. And now you know! You know, don't you?
Veda: Know what? Know what, Mother?
Mildred: You knew when you gave that uniform to Lottie that it was mine, didn't you?
Veda: Your uniform?
Mildred: Yes, I'm waiting tables in a downtown restaurant.
Veda: My mother - a waitress.
Mildred: I took the only job I could get so you and your sister could eat and have a place to sleep and some clothes on your backs.
Veda: Aren't the pies bad enough? Did you have to degrade us?
Mildred: Veda, don't talk like that!
Veda: I'm really not surprised. You've never spoken of your people - who you came from - so perhaps it's natural - Maybe that's why father...
[Mildred suddenly lashes out and viciously slaps Veda across the face.]
Mildred: I'm sorry I did that. I'd have rather cut off my hand. I never would have taken the job if I hadn't wanted to keep us all together. Besides, I wanted to learn the business the best way possible.
Veda: What kind of business?
Mildred: The restaurant business. I'm planning on opening a place of my own. There's money in a restaurant if it's run right.
Veda: You mean, you mean we'll be rich?
Mildred: Some people have gotten rich that way.

Monte: You know, Mildred, in the spring, a young man's fancy lightly turns to what he's been thinking about all winter.
Mildred: It's a good thing California winters are so short.

Mildred: Wally, do me a favor...Take Veda home.
Wally: What?
Veda: Anyone would think I was a child.
Mildred: You are, and besides, it's past your bedtime.
Wally: Well it's not way past my bedtime. [To Mildred] Besides, I want to take you home.
Mildred: Wally, I've got to close up. I'll go home with Ida. Please, come on.
Wally: OK, OK. Sure was a big night for me. I come out looking for an evening of fun and laughter and what do I get? Dishpan hands and a date with a Girl Scout.
Mildred: Good night, darling.
Veda: Good night, Mother. Goodnight, Mr. Beragon. Thank you for everything. I trust that we may meet again very soon.
Monte: Oh, I hope so.
Wally: Thank you for a divine evening, Mrs. Pierce. And I trust that I might see you again in the not too distant future. [To Monte] Good night. [To Veda] Come on, small fry. Come on, hurry up. [As he leaves, Wally leers at Ida]
Ida: Leave something on me. I might catch cold.
Wally: Just thinking. Not about you.

Wally: I hate all women.
Ida: My, my.
Wally: Thank goodness you're not one.

Mildred: Look, Monte, I've worked long and hard trying to give Veda the things I never had. I've done without a lot of things, including happiness sometimes, because I wanted her to have everything. And now I'm losing her. She's drifting away from me. She hardly speaks to me anymore except to ask for money, or poke fun at me in French because I work for a living...I blame it on the way she's been living. I blame it on you.
Monte: I don't think you understand Veda very well. She's not like you. You'll never make a waitress out of her.
Mildred: You look down on me because I work for a living, don't you? You always have. All right, I work. I cook food and sell it and make a profit on it - which I might point out you're not too proud to share with me.
Monte: Yes, I take money from you, Mildred. But not enough to make me like kitchens or cooks. They smell of grease.
Mildred: I don't notice you shrinking away from a $50 dollar bill because it happens to smell of grease. You're interfering with my life and my business. And worst of all, you're interfering with my plans for Veda and I won't stand for it.
Monte: You can go back to making your pies now, Mildred. We're through.

Veda: At this stage, it's a matter of opinion. And in my opinion, I'm going to have a baby. I can always be mistaken.
Mildred: [horrified] How could you do such a thing?! How could you?
Veda: I got the money, didn't I?
Mildred: Oh, I see.
Veda: I'll have to give Wally part of it to keep him quiet, but there's enough left for me.
Mildred: Money - that's what you live for, isn't it? You'd do anything for money, wouldn't you? Even blackmail. I've never denied you anything - anything money could buy I've given you. But that wasn't enough, was it? All right, Veda, from now on, things are going to be different.
Veda: I'll say they're going to be different. Why do you think I went to all this trouble? Why do you think I want money so badly?
Mildred: All right, why?
Veda: Are you sure you want to know?
Mildred: Yes.
Veda: Then I'll tell you. With this money, I can get away from you.
Mildred: Veda!
Veda: From you and your chickens and your pies and your kitchens and everything that smells of grease. I can get away from this shack with its cheap furniture, and this town and its dollar days, and its women that wear uniforms and its men that wear overalls.
Mildred: Veda, I think I'm really seeing you for the first time in my life and you're cheap and horrible.
Veda: You think just because you've made a little money you can get 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. With this money, I can get away from every rotten, stinking thing that makes me think of this place or you!
[Mildred tears the settlement check up. Ceda slaps Mildred, knocking her down]
Mildred: Get out, Veda. Get your things out of this house right now before I throw them into the street and you with them. Get out before I kill you.

Ida: You never used to drink during the day.
Mildred: I never used to drink at all. It's just a little habit I picked up from men.
Ida: Oh, men. I never yet met one of them who didn't have the instincts of a heel. Sometimes I wish I could get along without 'em.
Mildred: You've never been married, have you, Ida?
Ida: No. When men get around me, they get allergic to wedding rings. You know, 'Big sister type. Good old Ida. You can talk it over with her man to man.' I'm getting awfully tired of men talking to me man to man. I think I'll have a drink myself.
Mildred: I'll take mine straight.
Ida: Well, if you can take it, I can.
Mildred: [about Veda] Have you seen her, Ida? Is she all right?
Ida: Why don't you forget about her.
Mildred: I can't. I've tried, but I can't.
Ida: Well, try, try again. That's my motto.
Mildred: You don't know what it's like being a mother, Ida. Veda's a part of me. Maybe she didn't turn out as well as I hoped she would when she was born, but she's still my daughter and I can't forget that. I went away to try. I was so mixed up I didn't know where I was or what I wanted. But now I know. Now I'm sure of one thing at least. I want my daughter back.
Ida: Personally, Veda's convinced me that alligators have the right idea. They eat their young.

Monte: You went to considerable trouble to get rid of me once. So naturally, I'm startled by your proposal of marriage. This is so sudden.
Mildred: I have my own personal reason for wanting to marry you.
Monte: A reason named Veda, I think.
Mildred: Why should it be?
Monte: 'Cause your reason for doing anything is usually Veda.
Mildred: Well, whether it is or isn't, what's your answer?
Monte: I can't afford you, Mildred. You have money and I haven't. All I have is pride and a name, and I can't sell either.
Mildred: I see.
Monte: I'm not enjoying this, Mildred. Things are very different now from the way they were in the beginning.
Mildred: I know. I haven't forgotten.
Monte: Neither have I. I want you to love me again the way you did then. I need that more than anything else. I'm lost without it. I told you that day I knew you were the only woman in the world for me. I loved you then, Mildred, and I love you now.
Mildred: Well then why...
Monte: I can't marry you. I won't go on taking tips from you as I used to. Of course, if I owned a share in your business...
Mildred: Oh I see. I think I understand now. How much of a share would your pride require, Monte?
Monte: Please don't put it that way, Mildred. You know it hurts me to do this. I'm only doing it because I...
Mildred: How much of a share?
Monte: One third.
Mildred: All right. [He moves to kiss her. She raises her glass to block him.] Sold. One Beragon.

Mildred: I went to the house. Monte was alone. And I killed him.
Peterson: You're lying, Mrs. Beragon. We know you weren't alone in the house with him. We have proof of that - and various other things...You see, Mrs. Beragon, we've had a slant on you from the beginning. You were the key and we had to put the pressure on you. Well, the key turned, the door opened, and there was the murderer.

Mildred: Veda, what's happened?
Veda: It's Monte. [Crying, she cups her head in her hands] He's dead. He said horrible things. He didn't want me around anymore. He told me to get out. And then he laughed at me. He wouldn't stop laughing. I told him I'd kill him. He said I didn't have guts enough. I didn't mean to do it. I didn't mean to, I tell you. But the gun kept going off, over and over again. Then he was lying there, looking at me, just looking at me. You've got to help me. Give me money to get away - and time. I've got to get away before they find him.
Mildred: I can't get you out of this, Veda.
Veda: What are you going to do? What are you going to do? Think what will happen if they find me. Think what will happen...Give me another chance. It's your fault as much as mine. You've got to help me. Help me, Mother! Just this once. I'll change, I promise I will. I'll be different. Just give me another chance. It's your fault I'm the way I am. Help me.


  • In her heart of hearts she knew it would happen this way!
  • A mother's love leads to murder.
  • Please don't tell anyone what Mildred Pierce did!
  • The kind of Woman most men want - but shouldn't have!


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