It's a James Cain Festival....

Well, at least it is for A Reader's Respite ever since we discovered this founder of the American hard-boiled detective novel. We were smitten with Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice (if you missed our musings about that novel, check here) and curiosity led us to find out what else the man had written.

Imagine our surprise when we discovered Cain had quite an impressive bibliography to his name, including the novel Mildred Pierce.

Yes, for all of our fellow vintage film buffs, that Mildred Pierce. Turns out, Cain's novel was the basis for the Oscar-winning film starring Joan Crawford in 1945. (Is there anyone out there who hasn't seen this movie?) So A Reader's Respite set out on a mission: to get our grubby hands on this book.

Did you know that the studio wanted Bette Davis for the role? Davis turned it down because she didn't want to portray a character that had a 17 year old daughter.

Once we accomplished that task, we couldn't pull our nose out of the book. Like Postman, the movie had the inevitable deviations from the novel, probably because the book has deeper, darker psychological undercurrents.

Cain's characterization of Mildred herself is nothing short of genius...the reader understands her faults with sympathy and cheers her gumption even when it is misguided.

And Veda? We know you're all waiting to hear about Veda....the girl is just as much of a snotty little b*tch as Ann Blyth presented on the Silver Screen. Honestly, has there ever been a more evil daughter to ever grace the pages of a novel? Cain was a master, truly.
You can print this photo out and aim darts at Veda. But leave Crawford alone...we love her, wire hangars and all.

Michael Curtiz directed the 1945 film version that saved Joan Crawford's career. It was nominated for six Oscars that year, winning for Best Actress. Crawford's career was in the proverbial toilet at the time and Curtiz actually made her audition with a screen test (big slap in the face) before awarding her the role.

Next stop on our Cain adventure? Double Indemnity.


  1. I LOVE the movie Mildred Pierce...a true classic! And Crawford at her very best...I love her too! I bought the book at a used book sale a couple of years ago, but haven't got around to reading it. I definitely need to! I will also be watching for his other books on your recommendation. I love the movie Double Indemnity too!

  2. Girl, you definitely need to do C.B. James' "Read the Book/See the Movie Challenge". This would have been perfect!

  3. That was a great movie! Can't wait to read about your next film adventure.

  4. I love your James M. Cain reading tangent!

  5. ok, I have NOT SEEN this movie..I blurted that out... and i m embarrassed LOL!

    Now! this is something I really need to see and read!

  6. I'm ashamed to say but I haven't seen it Mildred Pierce before. :( I've seen the trailer and a few clips though.


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