Mildred Pierce (The Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)

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Mildred Pierce
(The Collector's Edition)

from HBO Entertainment
Mini-Review
December 22, 2013








Mildred Pierce
The Collector's Edition

Features: Blu-ray and DVD set, 30-minute making of, and more.
Codec / Resolution: MPEG-4 AVC / 1080p
Distributor: HBO Pictures / HBO Entertainment
Original Release: March 27, 2011
This Release: January 3, 2012
Region: All Regions
MPAA Rating: R
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Active Pixel Area: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Running Time: 340mins
Number Of Discs: 4 (2 Blu-ray + 2 DVD)
MSRP: $49.99
Current Price: Check Price / Purchase
Mildred Pierce is a mini-series that initially did not catch my attention...until an online retailer had the series at a price I couldn't resist. And besides, I figured with HBO, a person just can't lose. HBO Entertainment has put James M. Cain's 1941 novel on the screen, but unfortunately for readers, there will be significant portions left out, and several different takes on the characters themselves. I'm not sure why, as HBO could have made this a 10-part mini-series instead of 5, but there were probably financial constraints ($20 million is the rumored budget), as well as actor obligations to other films. Who knows. However, I will say briefly the mini-series was pretty good, and I enjoyed it for what it was. Of course, if you're looking for action and adventure...better look somewhere else. This is more of a closer look at the changes of a person over time, and their personal weaknesses and strengths.

Controversial Adaption

I suppose there will always be dedicated word-for-word fans of a novel who will want to see a faithful interpretation of their favorite book. I can't really disagree, as I've had my own share of movies being "adapted" from famous authors, and would have hoped there was a more extensive representation (i.e., Lord Of The Rings). Mildred Pierce has received a lot of negative comments ever since it first aired in Spring 2011. It seems either you like or you absolutely detest it. This isn't a bad thing. And maybe it's more of a good thing there is such a divide in opinion, which implies there is something about Mildred Pierce which is worth the viewing.

Comments about Kate Winslet's performance being underwhelming should be taken with a slab of salt, as I thought her performance was rather impressive. Make no mistake about this adaption. It's slow-going, and takes it time to develop the characters. Monty Beragon (Guy Pearce) and Veda Pierce (Evan Rachel Wood) are also different from the novel, but once again, we're talking about an adaption...verses a word-by-word representation of the novel.

So, at this point, my advice to readers of this review is if you are a stickler to the novel, then you'll have a lot of frustration during the 5-hour mini-series. However, if you're not too particular, and are curious...

The Plot

Mildred Pierce (Kate Winslet) and Bert Pierce (Brian F. O'Byrne) are a fortunate couple who are surviving The Great Depression. Bert has a home manufacturing business in Glendale, CA which does rather well (except for a few leaking roofs but that's another story). As we learn a little bit more in the first episode, Mildred Pierce has been tolerating Bert's indescretions with a neighborhood woman Maggie Biederhof (Margaret Reed). Eventually, Mildred Pierce has had enough of the behavior, and kicks Bert out of the house. This sets in motion a whole new set of expectations and necessities Mildred will have to face — and rather soon.

Coming from a time period of the early 1930's, Mildred Pierce faces something few women were expected to accomplish on their own in that era: self-sufficiency. Now that Bert was out of the house, somebody needed to be the money-maker of the family, and Mildred realized she needed to look for a job. Her two daughters, 7-year old Ray (Quinn McColgan) and 11-year old Veda (Morgan Turner and Evan Rachel Wood in the latter episodes) are confused about the separation, but Veda takes it more personally, and begins to blame her mother. This behavior becomes a gradual wedge between mother and daughter, and creates a several problems along the way.

Wally Burgan (James Le Gros) shows up at the Pierce's residence, asking where Bert could be found. Mildred relunctantly tells him about the situation and that she has no idea where her separated husband could be. Wally takes no time to make a move and asks Mildred out for dinner. Initially, she's caught off guard, but agrees. Lucy Gessler (Melissa Leo) is Mildred's confidant and best friend who advises her to instead, invite Wally over to her house so she has the upper hand when it came to the potential relationship. Lucy becomes a priceless advisor to Mildred in the coming episodes.

In the near future, we see Monty Beragon (Guy Pearce) taking a fancy to Mildred and giving her more suave and charm than Wally could give her. Of course, with all suave comes qualities which Mildred has yet to discover.

Packaging

Packaging for Mildred Pierce comes in a nice book-type appearance and looks rather stellar amongst other Blu-ray collections. It's too bad HBO (or any studio for that matter) couldn't have a packaging consistency as this is a sturdy and hearty packaging material. Containing 4 discs (two are Blu-ray discs, and two are DVDs), I was sort of hoping there would be somekind of booklet inside, because there is ample room for one.

Screencaps

Video

Mildred Pierce comes out on Blu-ray and DVD. Believe it or not, I accidentally put the DVD version in my Oppo BDP-93 Blu-rayer first. Honestly, I couldn't tell I didn't have a Blu-ray in my player until I noticed the darker-colored discs were DVD — not the Blu-ray discs. So, not to get into a Blu-ray vs. DVD debate, but the DVD has been mastered rather well. I dare you to loan it to your friends (keeping it to yourself the disc not a Blu-ray).

Image quality, for the most part, was great. The biggest issue I personally had, was with solid and gradient colors of a particular color spectrum, revealing some grain that I wish would have not been there. However, this a minor gripe overall, and I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Mildred Pierce (The Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap

Mildred Pierce (The Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap

Mildred Pierce (The Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap

Mildred Pierce (The Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap

Mildred Pierce (The Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap

Extras

HBO has offered a small amount of extras, but are still worth viewing, as it brings together the reason for the 5-part series, and why certain things were kept out and other things created (i.e., adaption):

BD Disc 1

  • Mildred Pierce: Inside The Episode
    (A Conversation with Todd Haynes; Episode 1 & The Middle Class)
    HD (4:39)
  • Mildred Pierce: Inside The Episode
    (A Conversation with Todd Haynes; Episode 2 / Veda)
    HD (4:06)
  • Mildred Pierce: Inside The Episode
    (A Conversation with Todd Haynes; Episode 4)
    HD (4:58)
  • Mildred Pierce: Inside The Episode
    (A Conversation with Todd Haynes; Episode 5)
    HD (4:37)
BD Disc 2

  • Making Mildred Pierce HD (29:02)
  • Mildred Pierce: Inside The Episode (NOTE: these conversations are duplicates from the first disc)

Specifications

Main Audio Track: DTS-HD Master 5.1 (English) @ 2749 Kbps (48kHz/24-bit)
Subtitles: English

Mildred Pierce (The Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)
Mildred Pierce (The Collector's Edition) Bitrate Graph (Disc 1; Part 1)

      MILDREDPIERCE_DISC1
    • Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
    • Resolution: 1080p
    • Blu-ray BD-50
    • Disc One Size: 47,994,318,978 bytes (44.70 GB)
    • Feature Episode Sizes:
      12,911,167,488 bytes (12.02 GB Part 1) (59:59)
      13,701,746,688 bytes (12.76 GB Part 2) (1:04:45)
      15,040,100,352 bytes (14.01 GB Part 3) (1:05:56)
    • Overall Bitrate: 28-30 Mbps
    • Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps
    • Download: MILDREDPIERCE_DISC1 BD Info File
Mildred Pierce (The Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)
Mildred Pierce (The Collector's Edition) Bitrate Graph (Disc 2; Part 5)

    MILDREDPIERCE_DISC2
  • Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Blu-ray BD-50
  • Disc Two Size: 47,870,374,904 bytes (44.58 GB)
  • Feature Episode Sizes:
    16,283,492,352 bytes (15.17 GB Part 4)
    19,964,891,136 bytes (18.59 GB Part 5)
  • Overall Bitrate: ~32 Mbps
  • Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps
  • Download: MILDREDPIERCE_DISC2 BD Info File


Rating
AUDIO
VIDEO
CONTENT
EXTRAS

Overall Rating - 8.50 out of 10

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Conclusion

Mildred Pierce is a mini-series unto itself, as it does not entirely emulate the novel nor the Joan Crawford film. However, you can't fault the series or its actors as it is a unique drama, with an amazing amount of visuals and stellar acting.

Having such a great cast of actors and a wonderful representation of the 1930's that is truly rare to be seen of such productions, Mildred Pierce (The Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray) gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

For those who want to know more about Mildred Pierce's character, you might want to read the James M. Cain novel, and even see the 1945 Mildred Pierce version, which stars Joan Crawford as Mildred Pierce and Ann Blyth as Veda.

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RSS Feeds FOV Factor Table Sensor Sizes | Definitions: A-D E-H I-L M-P Q-U V-Z | Sitemap
Articles Archived Websites (Pre-DigitalDingus): D100 Lounge E-10 Club | Contact