I’ve been looking forward to Todd Haynes remake of Mildred Pierce on HBO. It promised to be closer to the original James Cain novel. The new version has realism similar to 1970s and 1980s movies that were set in the 1930s: The Day of the Locust, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and The Last Tycoon. It all sounds swell. The problem I have is that it’s just rather boring. If I’d never seen the 1945 Joan Crawford version, I’d be all over it like white on rice.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to top the 1945 extreme film noir drama of Mildred’s spoiled daughter Vida’s dialogue:
“If you mean Mrs. Biederhof, I must say my sympathy is all with you. She's distinctly middle class.”
“I mean, that would have been dreadfully recherché, n'est-ce pas?”
“With this money, I can get away from you. From you and your chickens, pies and kitchens. Everything that smells of grease. I can get away from this shack and its cheap furniture. And this town.... Its women that wear uniforms. Its men that wear overalls.”
“You think just because you made money, you can turn yourself into a lady. But you can't. You'll never be anything but a common frump whose father lived over a store and whose mother took in washing. With this money l can get away from every rotten thing that makes me think of this place or you!”
The next time you find yourself in a disagreement with your own mother, try some of these. For example your mother may say, “Betty, I just don’t know if I feel like Chinese tonight, how about Sizzler?” And then you can respond, “Sizzler? Sizzler. Well, you've never spoken of your people, where you came from, so perhaps it's natural.”