Joan Crawford would have seen a lot of herself in Varla Jean Merman. Same wide, staring eyes. Same immovable coiffure. Same Rob Gronkowski shoulders.
In “Mildred Fierce,’’ Merman takes a signature Crawford role and devours it like one of the pies that poor Mildred slaves over and then sells so she can keep her daughter Veda in the lap of luxury, not that the rotten brat is the least bit grateful for her mother’s endless sacrifices . . .