i just watched the original again (my dad has a collection of old movies he has put on dvd) and I beg to differ with the ending that others have mentioned. In the ending of the Joan Crawford version Mildred is in a police station being grilled by a detective about the murder of Monte. She is trying to cover for Veda (who shot and killed Monte for laughing at her expecting him to run off with her) while she is talking the detective tricks her into saying something and then Veda walks in. Mildred tells her to shutup so as not to implicate herself and that is when Veda laughs at her mother. It is a very melo-dramatic ending according to the era it was made. This is when Mildred is finally able to put Veda behind her and go on with her life.
Basically, in the original, you do get to know who was murdered and by whom.
They then flash forward; she marries her first husband and they are back in their old house having lost her money. Veda shows up to say good bye; she is moving to NYC with Monte and in that conversation is where Mildred realizes Veda was responsible for her financial demise.
The final scene we see Mildred sitting with her husband in her first restaurant, now empty. She walked there after having expressed RAGE at Veda as she drove off. Her husband (cant remember his name) convinced her to say and believe "To hell with her!" She finally says and means that. The both scream, to hell with her!
I thought Mildred's rage (when screaming at Veda through the taxi's window) was way more about Veda's leaving for NYC than about Mildred realizing anything about her relationship with Veda.
And, to me, it underscored the fact that this story was about Mildred's obsession with her daughter. She could never let her go. She tried to control Veda from the time of her birth.
She pretty much married Monte and acquired a mansion to lure Veda back. Mildred, alone, was responsible for her own financial demise. She made all the wrong choices when it came to her daughter. And why in the world would she ever even SPEAK to Veda again after discovering her naked in Monte's room?
Obsession. It's not just a perfume.
"Blessed is the lonesome pioneer." -- Judee Sill (1973, "There's a Rugged Road")
Man, I think I missed some things big time. I'll have to go back and watch it again. This was my take on it. Please chime in.
When Veda mentioned Consolidated Foods in the last scene with her parents, I thought she was referring to the company who offered Veda the big deal to go to NY and perform and pay her the really big bucks. There was a scene where they offered it to her and her manager turned it down explaining she was already under contract. Veda was very upset with him and felt he had not handled her well. She couldn't take the Consolidated Foods offer orignially because she was already under contract with the cigarette company. Once the cigarette company let her go, she was free to take the Consolidate Foods offer.
The reason the cigarette company let her go was because of her throat injury resulting from her mother choking her, but Mildred realizes that was a lie and that she never had a throat injury from the choking. She faked it to get the cigarette company to release her from her contract.
As far as the loss of her fortune, I thought that Mildred was overextending to impress Monty and Veda, keeping two sets of books and just let things get out of control with her obsession with Veda and that is what caused her to lose it. However, my version does make you wonder why Mildred was so outraged at Veda at that moment. I mean, so what Veda faked the extent of her injury. Would that alone cause such outrage in Mildred?