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Mildred Pierce: The Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 2.0
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Norwegian, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), Swedish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: N/R
  • Run Time: 300 Mins
  • Discs: 4 (2 x Blu-ray + 2 x DVD)
  • Studio: HBO Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 3, 2012
  • List Price: $49.98

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BestBuy.com:
Mildred Pierce - Collector's Subtitle

Purchase Mildred Pierce Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are only are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:4/5]

Many will no doubt remember the inimitable Joan Crawford in the original 1945 big screen adaptation of the James M. Cain novel Mildred Pierce. That melodramatic film noir has become a cinematic classic, as well it should be. The creators of HBO’s mini-series, however, have taken a different approach with their version of the Cain material, preferring a more true reading of the source.

Kate Winslet plays the eponymous role as the single mother forced to raise her two daughters alone during the Great Depression when she throws here cheating husband out of the house. After a series of interviews for jobs she finds too demeaning and embarrassing, Mildred finds her way to a diner that will change her fate forever. Taking a job as a waitress, she learns the business, but too ashamed to let her older daughter Veda (played as a child by Morgan Turner and as teen/adult by Evan Rachel Wood) know that this is the path she has really chosen for herself, she dreams up a scheme to use her knowledge of the business and skills as a pie maker to start her own restaurant business.

Meanwhile, Mildred has been having an affair with her ex-husband’s best friend Wally Burgan (James LeGros) until the flashy and rich playboy Monty Beragon (Guy Pearce) comes along. The decision to start a relationship with Monty will be one she may rue, as will be her decisions to constantly indulge the wishes of her talented yet conniving daughter Veda.

Mildred Pierce is a slow and steady, character-driven look into the middle-class of the Great Depression and the often unspoken struggle of the women who had to survive it on their own. Kate Winslet practically carries the mini-series on her own, dominating every frame, getting her a well-earned Emmy in 2011 for Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Mildred Pierce was shot on Super 16mm film as a result there is a coarse grain structure and not such a wide range of contrast. With that being said, the AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement does its best to present a film-like image with little noise, no compression artifacts and no edge enhancement.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

There is an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack that is relatively straightforward. For this sort of dialogue-driven material, it does the job well, with clear and clean dialogue. There is deep extension of low frequencies as well. which can mostly be heard during the opening title sequence. Meanwhile, the surround channels are rather quiet, with slight atmospherics.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

The creators offer up commentaries and interviews that delve into the production and story development of the series and a typical “making of” is also included.

The supplements:

  • Audio Commentary on Part Three with Todd Haynes (writer/director), Jon Raymond (writer) and Mark Friedberg (production designer)
  • Audio Commentary on Part Five with Todd Haynes (writer/director), Jon Raymond (writer) and Mark Friedberg (production designer)
  • Inside the Episodes – Todd Haynes breaks down the topics and character developments of the individual episodes:
    • Part One (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:04:39)
    • Part Two (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:04:06)
    • Part Three (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:04:57)
    • Part Four (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:04:58)
    • Part Five (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:04:36)
  • Making of Mildred Pierce (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:29:01)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

A strong period drama with excellent sets and superb casting, Mildred Pierce stays true to its source material and makes for a compelling “mini-soap” or TV novella, if you will, with unseen twists that, unless you’ve read the book or seen the previous film version, you’ll never see coming. High quality entertainment from HBO.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B0041KKZHS[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Mildred Pierce - Collector's Subtitle

Purchase Mildred Pierce Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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