James M. Cain's Novel Mildred Pierce: Comparing the Book and Movie Version

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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
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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 doesn’t want to be with Veda in the film because she has know money and is not successful. She is only being used for sex which ends up being the reason why Veda kills him.

Another major difference between the novel and the film was the time period. In the novel, the period of time covered is longer, from the early Depression to 1941 rather than from 1941 to 1945. This played a major role in both the film and the novel. In the novel, the characters, scenes, and the settings were described by Cain as being more poorer and lower class. In the film, the Depression is over and everyone seems happier, acting like they have nothing to worry about. “Cain’s observations on place and class in California in the 1920’s and 1930’s make the first half of the book a frequently
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