Mildred Pierce

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.

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