Mildred Pierce (film)

1945 film by Michael Curtiz

Mildred Pierce is a 1945 American 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.

From the trailer for the film
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)

Mildred Pierce Beragon

  • We lived on Corvallis Street where all the houses looked alike. Ours was number 1143. I was always in the kitchen. I felt as though I'd been born in a kitchen and lived there all my life, except for the few hours it took to get married.
  • I'll never forget it. Never as long as I live. She said, "Mommy," and that was all. Oh, I loved her so much. Oh, please God, don't ever let anything happen to Veda.

Wally Fay

  • 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.

Monte Beragon

  • [first lines and last words] Mildred!

Ida Corwin

  • Personally, I don't think you're the type for the work. But against my better judgment, I'll give you a trial. Now you need white shoes. Ask for nurses' regulation. Any of the stores. $2.95. We furnish your uniform but it comes off your first check. $3.95. You get it at cost and keep it laundered. If you don't suit us, we charge you twenty-five cents on the uniform. That comes off your check too. Keep your own tips.
  • 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.
  • Personally, Veda's convinced me that alligators have the right idea. They eat their young.

Veda Pierce Forrester

  • I love you, Mother. Really I do. But let's not be sticky about it.

Albert "Bert" Pierce

  • The trouble is, you're trying to buy love from those kids and it won't work. I'm no bargain, but I make enough to get by. But no, that isn't good enough. Veda has to have a piano and lessons and fancy dresses so she can sit up on a platform smirking her way through a piece any five-year-old with talent could play.

Inspector Peterson

  • [last lines, to Mildred] You can go now. We'll call you when we want you. You know, Mrs. Beragon, there are times when I regret being a policeman.


Mildred: 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.

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.

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: 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.

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!

Monte: 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. [picks up the telephone] Okay, now. Yes. [hangs up and turns to Mildred] 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.
[The door opens and two detectives escort Veda into the office]
ND Detective: We picked her up at the airport. They grabbed her off a plane headed for Arizona. She didn't like it much.
Veda: I don't understand.
Peterson: You will. We know all about it. Your mother told us everything. Why did you kill him?
Veda: You promised not to tell. You promised. You said you'd help me get away!
Mildred: Veda, don't say anything more!
Peterson: Too late, Mrs. Beragon. That's all we needed.

Veda: 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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