The above full-sheet poster for Mildred Pierce (1945) was part of the original publicity for the movie. It tells us in bold imagery that Joan Crawford is the star attraction of the film: not only is her name at the top, but there are two images of her on the poster. The full body image of her posed with a gun entices the observer with a tease on the story line. But the overwhelming image on the poster is of the face that takes up half the sheet. The face is not Mildred Pierce -- Mildred is the full-body image -- the face is Joan. We are going to see Joan. She is the selling point of the movie.
However, in this follow-up colorized lobby card, we see the focus is not Joan Crawford. There are three people in the image, the fateful triangle that makes up the story's intrigue and tragedy: Mildred, her playboy second husband, and her daughter, Veda.
Ann Blyth rates fifth billing in the movie, and a smaller credit on the large poster. She isn't even mentioned on the lobby card-- but she is now an image used for publicity. This is on the strength of her performance--which was praised by critics even before the film was released. She earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, the youngest person at the time (16 years old) to be so honored.
Mildred Pierce is running again on Turner Classic Movies tomorrow at 8 a.m. Eastern. Go see what all the fuss was about.
The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on Audible.com, and on Amazon and iTunes.
Also in paperback and eBook from Amazon.