TV Casualty: Common Frump

I think I’ll just go through these chronologically.

First on my list of spring Must See TV is Mildred Pierce, on HBO.  (Official site.)

Mildred will be a 5-part miniseries running Sunday nights beginning March 27th.  Words can’t do justice to how excited I am about this one.  It’s triggering ALL of my buttons:  film history geek, Kate Winslet Fan, Joan Crawford Worshipper, 1930′s noir novel fan, vintage clothes/sets/furniture drooler-at-large, and my Inner Gay Man is just frothing at the mouth with anticipation!

*bounce* Squeeee!

Let me take a breath and explain the snowballing avalanche of awesomeness that this miniseries has the potential to be.

Mildred Pierce was originally a novel by James M. Cain.  Cain was a contemporary of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett and wrote in a similar jaundiced, “hard boiled” style and had his works adapted in famous films noir.  (Besides Mildred, he also wrote The Postman Always Rings Twice.)  I love the novel on its own merits.  It alone would have me happy about this show.  BUT as we all (I hope) know, Mildred Pierce was first adapted for the screen in a 1945 film starring….JOAN CRAWFORD as Mildred.  Joan’s version played fast and loose with the book, but it stands on its own as one of the most iconic Crawford performances.  Joan won her Oscar for it…a moment immortalized in Mommie Dearest when Joan feigns illness because she’s too nervous to go to the Oscars, and then welcomes the reporters into her house wearing her glamourous bathrobe, miraculously cured of her “flu”.  *sigh*  I digress.  But you see what I’m saying about the snowball effect?

Anyway, here’s Joan as Mildred

So the HBO adaptation has Kate Winslet, whom I love, tackling a role made famous by my goddess Joan in a great movie based upon a really good novel.  But that’s not all!  No, no, it gets even better.

It is being adapted and directed by Todd Haynes!  Todd Haynes is a genius.  He wrote and directed Velvet Goldmine, ffs!  But that’s not the best of it.  Mr. Haynes also wrote and directed far Far From Heaven, a brilliant, brilliant movie that is an homage to the soapy 1950′s potboilers of Douglas Sirk (Written on the Wind, All That Heaven Allows, etc.)  Honestly, Far From Heaven was much more that an homage, it was a recreation…flawless.  If someone just showed me random stills from it, I would not be able to tell that it wasn’t made in 1956.

In other words, I trust Todd Haynes to get the 1930′s and 40′s world of Mildred Pierce more than right.

All this, and Guy Pearce, too!  Gawd, is it the 27th yet?!

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