Stella Dallas (1937) 720p

Movie Poster
Stella Dallas (1937) - Movie Poster
Drama | Romance
Frame Rate:
24 fps
English 2.0  
Run Time:
106 min
IMDB Rating:
7.4 / 10 
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Directors: King Vidor [Director] ,

Movie Description:
Working-class Stella Martin marries high-end Stephen Dallas and soon they have a daughter named Laurel. But Stephen's incessant demands of Stella to become what she isn't leads to their eventual separation. Stephen later marries Helen Morrison (his prior fiancée), and Laurel becomes the focus of Stella's life and love. Nothing is too good for Laurel as far as Stella is concerned. Determined to give her all the advantages, she takes Laurel on a trip to an expensive resort where Laurel makes friends with rich kids. After an embarrassing incident, Stella realizes that her daughter would go farther in life without Stella as her mother. Her subsequent sacrifice is shattering. —Anonymous


  • Stella Dallas (1937) - Movie Scene 1
  • Stella Dallas (1937) - Movie Scene 2
  • Stella Dallas (1937) - Movie Scene 1

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Heartbreaking Tale and Barbara Stanwyck is a GODDESS!

Barbara Stanwyck is just a GODDESS.

She carries this film wonderfully and it was nice to see her play against a 'femme fatale' type in some ways. Despite all the flaws of Stella, as a viewer I felt unshakeable sympathy for her character and I found the film captivating but bitterly sad. I found the daughter's character, Laurel to be a little insipid and rather saccharin, but it's a good plot device for the film. On the whole, I really enjoyed it and I cannot emphasise enough how fantastic Barbara Stanwyck's performance is. She well-deserved her Oscar nomination (...and perhaps the win, I forget who won that year...).

That said, it was rather upsetting and for that reason I would say it's a must-watch film but I might struggle to bring myself to watch it again.

One of the Best Movie Performances I've Ever Seen

Barbara Stanwyck delivers, without exaggeration, one of the best performances I have ever seen in a movie in this gut-wrencher from 1937.

She plays the slovenly title character, ex-wife of a privileged and wealthy man, who decides to sacrifice her relationship with her own daughter (Anne Shirley) so that the daughter can have a better life. This material could have been maudlin to the point of dreadful if handled differently, but Stanwyck and director King Vidor deliver the goods without letting them soak first in sentimentality, and the result is a five-hankie movie. I'd already seen the final and famous scene, and so thought it wouldn't have the impact on me it might otherwise have, but I was wrong. I was a mess.

I used to think that Irene Dunne deserved the Best Actress Oscar in that year's race for her performance in "The Awful Truth," but wonderful as that performance still is, Stanwyck should have had it in the bag (though neither won; the award that year went to Luise Rainer in "The Good Earth.") Shirley was also Oscar-nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category.

"Stella Dallas" would make a great double feature with another 1937 release, "Make Way for Tomorrow." There's something about the themes and tone of the former that kept making me think of the latter, and they both made me feel the same way. Of course after that double feature you'd also have to reserve some time to be utterly inconsolable for a day or two.

Grade: A

King Vidor and Social Differences

Barbara Stanwyck is very good in this melodrama, but I believe little praise has been given to King Vidor, whom I have grown to appreciate in recent years as one of the best classic American filmmakers of all times. Precisely for this reason I finally acquired this film and enjoyed it very much, especially as he shows great perception to depict the cruel and too frequent irreconcilable differences that end relationships. In movies like ?The Crowd?, ?Our Daily Bread?, ?Street Scene?, ?Hallelujah!? and even ?Bird of Paradise? or "Solomon and Sheba? Vidor intelligently dealt with social, cultural, ethnic, economic or ideological differences, that still affect people and quite often impede any one of us to find happiness. Perhaps the ornamented Stella is a bit overdone, especially in the hotel sequence after she has previously demonstrated how to control her tendency to be excessive and vulgar in dress, make-up, hair style or social manners, when Mr. Dallas picks up their daughter to spend Christmas with him. But most of the time Vidor keeps everything tight, including Sherman Todd's film editing, and even Alfred Newman's melodramatic string overflows are well measured. I must add that the rest of the cast is all good, making ?Stella Dallas? a rewarding film experience.
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