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Mildred Pierce [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

James M. Cain , Christine Williams
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.66
Price: 17.58 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Kindle Edition 5.49  
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Book Description

18 Aug 1987

Joan Crawford forged a new and successful screen image in this powerful women's "noir" film; winning her an Academy Award for best actress.
Albert J. LaValley's through and insightful guide to "Mildred Pierce" at once tells us much about the making of this complex film, the problems and process of transferring the story to the screen, the specific and important roles of the producer, director, and set designer, and how the film relates to broad trends within the industry. It is without a doubt the most thorough treatment of this important American motion picture.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (18 Aug 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786160470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786160471
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 13.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,549,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A notable collection of screenplays... All reproduce the film as shot, with extensive data... [and] full production credits." - American Cinematographer" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A classic American novel, published to tie-in with a major new SKY series starring Kate Winslet. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
In the spring of 1931, on a lawn in Glendale, California, a man was bracing trees. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading 20 Oct 2011
By Zoonie TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mildred Pierce is a gripping tale. It is the story of an abandoned wife, her business ventures, her love affairs and her family life against a background of an economic slump. She is a great character Mildred Pierce in that she is not a perfect, brave heroine, but she is a human with failings and one VERY blind spot, her love for the unworthy daughter.

The descriptions of cake-making, book-keeping, Californian middle-class homes, music lessons etc etc are so vivid that you see them with your own eyes, you live them. After reading this book, I felt as if I had visted pre-war California and begun to understand its ways, it society and its snobberies.

The book has a flaw, though. The author writes with Mildred as his focus in every scene, we are taken into her head and into her heart, BUT Mildred is female and the writer is not. At just a few points one thinks that a woman would not say or do or feel as described.

This was my first James M Cain novel. I enjoyed so much I have ordered The Postman Always Rings Twice.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pies, pies, pies 1 Oct 2010
This is a great book on lots of levels. There is fantastic detail about all sorts of topics: pies and how to make and sell them, the restaurant and real estate businesses, class differences (particularly in interior decoration), and the competitive world of professional musicians. The characters and situations are nicely varied and all very believable and you really care what happens. It is quite different to the film, so don't be put off by thinking you know the plot already if you've seen it (though I've heard rumours of a Kate Winslet remake which could be more faithful). This is an excellent option if you like the idea of 'hard-boiled' US fiction of the '30s and '40s but find crime writers like Hammett and Chandler objectionably macho. There's none of that here - we see the story from Mildred's point of view and it stays firmly rooted in a domestic and family context that makes the climactic events all the more plausible. If you like this I would also recommend Cain's 'Serenade', again a non-macho yet still hard-boiled(ish) classic with similar strengths.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far better than the film 28 July 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Perhaps not technically in the 'film noir' genre as there is no smoking gun (unlike the joan Crawford film), Cain's writing is however gripping, and has a very modern feel. Cain achieves strong characterisation, principally by the excellent use of dialogue combined with earthy realism.
The story revolves around the destructive love of a mother for her spoilt, cold and manipulative daughter, upon whom she projects material ambitions buit fails to inculcate any moral index. Initially a victim, the eponymous hero becomes a self-made all-american success, only to be destroyed by those she loves and who have motivated her efforts to succeed.
The plot is startlingly different from the film adaptation, more convincing and bleaker if less dramatic. A suoerb holiday read
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE UNKINDEST CUT OF ALL... 8 Mar 2012
Having loved the film, I looked forward to reading this classic novel upon which the film was based. I must say, just as the movie kept me riveted to the screen, the book likewise kept me riveted to its pages. Darker and even more compelling than the film, the author tells the story of Mildred Pierce, a divorcee with two children who is caught in the throes of the depression of the 1930s but manages to make something of herself.

Professionally successful, Mildred has a talent for picking the wrong men and an irrational devotion to her eldest daughter, Veda, who is morally twisted and totally monstrous. Unfortunately, Mildred does not see her daughter for what she truly is, until it is too late.

Masterfully written and thematically complex, the writing is intense, hard-boiled, and, though redolent of a bygone age, as relevant today as when it was first written. There is an undercurrent of a permeating malaise throughout the book that culminates in a shattering climax. Believe me, you will feel Mildred Pierce's pain, as she discovers how sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child, when Veda delivers the unkindest cut of all. This book is a winner and a true American classic. Bravo!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read 11 Feb 2013
By caz06
Well written gripping story of a hard working mother and a precocious materialistic daughter. Best book I have read in ages.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Motherhood and apple pie 21 May 2011
This 1941 novel opens ten years earlier, on the day Glendale housewife Mildred Pierce becomes a single mother. Exasperated by her newly unemployed husband's philandering and lack of gumption, she finally tells him to leave, and becomes the sole provider for her two young daughters, Veda and Ray. Ray is adorable. Veda, Mildred's favourite, is the most affected, snobby eleven-year-old you're ever likely to meet, in fiction or out of it. When she finds out that Mildred is supporting the family by waitressing, she's furious and contemptuous. Desperate to keep Veda's approval, on the spur of the moment Mildred claims that she intends starting a restaurant and wants to learn the business from the ground up. This is the moment which turns her life around.

I was fascinated with the details of Mildred's rise from waitress to restaurant owner. It was inspiring to see her gain confidence, realise that she has what it takes to become a successful businesswoman. In fact, it made me want to bake a pie, or sell something. Mildred's story takes place over seventy years ago, and her world has mostly vanished, yet she's a modern woman, battling with an economy very similar to today's. She's relatable.

But when it came to Mildred's personal life, far from cheering her on, I wanted to tell her to get a grip and set some boundaries. Not only does Mildred let Veda walk all over her, she acquires a socialite boyfriend, Monty, who is soon doing the same thing. She is unable to break the hold they have on her, with disastrous results.

This book made me wonder if the idea that women could never have it all, that they had to pay a price for business success, first emerged in the 1930s.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent and horrifying
Couldn't put it down. A lesson in not living through your children. Ups and downs to keep you reading and a good ending but not a happy ending!
Published 1 day ago by Damo
4.0 out of 5 stars Different to the movie !
Have loved the movie version of this for years and have only just got around to reading the book . I was surprised how different it is to the movie especially the ending . Read more
Published 25 days ago by J. Murphy
3.0 out of 5 stars No mayhem, no murder, but plenty of tension
If you think you know what to expect from the author of classic crime thrillers Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice then think again. Read more
Published 5 months ago by daveevans
3.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly underrated writer......
Cain is adept at keeping his story clipping along, albeit with a few too many convenient plot twists. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Keith Brady
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story of family gone wrong
I love Cain's crime fiction, but this was a great story where the noir doesn't show up as crime, but in the blackness of the soul.
Published 7 months ago by Lord Moose
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
This was a good book for book club as much to talk about.Difficult to like the character but we all felt sorry for her
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. Me Fell
5.0 out of 5 stars assignment reading
the book is very close to the HBO adaptation hence the picture of the actress on the cover using this for my assignment a good read if a little annoying when it comes to the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Ms. Amanda P. Blondel
5.0 out of 5 stars Great study of relationships written in the 1930s
This book is supposed to be one of the classics. I bought it ages ago on a recommendation but found the cover and blurb uninspiring so kept moving it to the bottom of my very big... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Janie U
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
This is basically a study on a mother and daughter relationship and how you can't live your dreams through you child . Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ms. C. Bailey
5.0 out of 5 stars A very facinating manner of writing
The book reminds me of 'The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles' by Katherine Pancol (or the other way around), but fortunately the end is far more unexpected and impressive than the one of... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Roselina
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