Monday, March 7, 2011

Mildred Pierce by James Cain

How many James Cain novels have been made into movies? I'm not sure. Three of the best adaptations were Mildred Pierce, Double Indemnity, and The Postman Always Rings Twice. Of these three, my favorite is Mildred Pierce. I think I've seen it at least ten times.

I bought a copy of it first in videocassette form and later in DVD. All this, and it never occurred to me to read the book. This year that changed when HBO announced they would be turning the book into a five part miniseries.

The original movie (for which Joan Crawford won an Academy Award) was less than two hours long. What could be in the book that could possibly fill five parts? I was intrigued enough to read the book. It was a great read, but very different from the movie.

Veda, the daughter, was even worse in the book. To this day, I still can't watch a movie with Ann Blythe without picturing her as that evil child. Joan Crawford was also excellent as the mother even though just as in real life she sucked as a mother.

I'd give both the book and the movie an A. To HBO I'd give a warning. Remember that James Cain's novels were sexy thrillers not sleazy trash.

No comments: