MILDRED PIERCE
1945, Warner Bros., 111 min, USA, Dir: Michael Curtiz

"Mildred had more to offer in a glance than most woman give in a lifetime."

Joan Crawford gives her signature performance (an Oscar winner) as James M. Cain's ultimate maternal martyr, in thrall to her own femme fatale daughter, Veda (a deliciously venal Ann Blyth). After Mildred divorces her cheating husband, she turns her pie baking skills into what ultimately becomes a successful restaurant chain – all the while, working to give her demanding, selfish daughter the best of everything - but even that isn’t enough for Veda! The twisted combination of high-strung soap opera and hard-edged pulp produced what may be the greatest Hollywood melodrama of all time.

"Loving her was like shaking hands with the devil."


CITY STREETS
1932, Paramount, 83 min, USA, Dir: Rouben Mamoulian

Gary Cooper (young and stunningly handsome) plays a carny sharpshooter who goes crooked in order to free his love (Sylvia Sidney) from prison. The only story Dashiell Hammett wrote specifically for the screen, it is brilliantly realized by director Rouben Mamoulian and legendary cameraman Lee Garmes. Screenplay by Oliver H. P. Garrett, adapted by Max Marcin, from Hammett's original story. NOT ON DVD.


THE MALTESE FALCON (1931)
1931, Warner Bros., 80 min, USA, Dir: Roy Del Ruth

No, not the Bogart version, but the original - made the year after Dashiell Hammett’s landmark novel was published. This pre-Code adaptation flaunts a much sexier tone than John Huston’s more famous 1941 version. Some Hammett fans even prefer it. Ricardo Cortez and Bebe Daniels star as Spade and Brigid. Screenplay by Maude Fulton & Brown Holmes, from the Hammett novel. Directed by Roy Del Ruth.


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