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by Danny Baldwin

Mildred (Joan Crawford) contemplates suicide, staring off a pier in close-up, until it is not the cry of on onlooking policeman that keeps her from jumping, but the tap of his nightstick against the railing she's clutching. While certainly a melodrama in the classic sense, "Mildred Pierce" shows a profound amount of restraint in moments like these, not allowing the characters' hysterics to bleed over into its filmmaking approach. This is to say, the emphasis on gestures rather than over-the-top dialogue in this moment allows for all the same information to be communicated, but in purely visual terms, preserving the medium specificity of cinema.

Mildred Pierce (Curtiz, 1945) — Thwarted Suicide

Mildred's (Joan Crawford's) suicide is thwarted by an onlooking policeman.

from Mildred Pierce (1945)
Creator: Michael Curtiz
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Posted by Danny Baldwin