James M. Cain's Novel Mildred Pierce: Comparing the Book and Movie Version
Mildred Pierce is one of the greatest novels written by James M. Cain. After the success of the novel, the Hollywood film came out, produced by Jerry Wald. The novel and the movie are very different from each other. “James M. Cain sent several letters of complaint to producer Jerry Wald, objecting to the changes Wald wanted to make, especially the dramatic idea of making Veda a washout musically and putting her in a tawdry nightclub” (Bennett Notes). The three main differences in the film were, the murder of Monte, Veda not having a successful career, and the time period only covering 1941 to 1945.
The main difference between the film and the novel was the murder that Hollywood added. Right when the film begins, it starts making the viewer think about who the killer is already. The novel doesn’t make the reader guess in any aspect. Jerry Wald makes the viewer think that Mildred is the killer at first, especially because she tries to commit suicide in the beginning of the film. Then it makes the viewer think that Bert is the killer for a while. Finally, the real killer is revealed at the end of the movie, which turns out to be Veda. The best thing about the movie was that it kept you guessing until the end. “Throughout the film we are never certain that Mildred is not Monte’s murderer. Even when she is cleared, she is not exculpated” (LaValley 12). Mildred tries to cover up for Veda again, by telling the cops that she killed Monte. The cops tell her that she can’t get her daughter off the hook this time. Finally, Veda ends up paying the consenquences for her action and goes to jail.
Another big difference between the novel and the movie is, in the novel Veda becomes a successful musician, while in the film she is nothing but a singer in Wally’s cheap night club. Veda taking the job at the nightclub, with guys whistling at her was very ironic. It’s ironic because throughout the whole film she complains to her mother for being low class, making cakes for people, smelling like grease, and being a waitress. Veda thought that her mom had no pride because of the jobs she would take. Veda taking the job at Wally’s night club contradicts everything she would tell her mom. However, in the novel, Veda becomes a very successful musician. She was singing at the Hollywood Bowl, and was even doing commercials for ads. I believe that in the novel, Monte ends up staying with Veda because of her money and success. I believe Monte...