In “Mildred Pierce,” which is set in Depression-era Glendale, the sun-dappled curtain rises on a domestic scene of failure and dread. It’s 1931, and Herbert Pierce, a stylish family man in his mid-thirties, is tending the lawn. Taking care of his modest Spanish style bungalow is one way for him to pass the time. Another is hanging out with the wonderfully named Maggie Biederhof, a neighborhood widow whose regard provides Herbert with a much-needed ego boost. He’s unemployed. At the height of the go-go twenties, Herbert, a former stunt rider for the movies, teamed up with some developers to convert a ranch he’d inherited into a bedroom community, called Pierce Homes, with Herbert as its enthusiastic president. But when the stock market crashed, so did Herbert’s dreams.