Stella Dallas

Stella Dallas

Barbara Stanwyck
Director: King Vidor Cast: Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck
, John Boles
John Boles
, Anne Shirley
Anne Shirley
King Vidor

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Produced by Sam Goldwyn, this second film version of Olive Higgins Prouty's Stella Dallas is by far the best. The combined talents of Goldwyn, director King Vidor and star Barbara Stanwyck lift this property far above the level of mere soap opera. Stanwyck is perfectly cast as Stella Martin, the loud, vulgar factory-town girl who snares wealthy husband Stephen Dallas (John Boles). When Stephen is offered a job in New York, Stella stays behind, knowing that she'll never be part of her husband's social circle. She pals around platonically with her old beau, the cheap and tasteless Ed Munn (Alan Hale), a fact that drives yet another wedge between Stella and her husband. The final straw is daughter Laurel's (Anne Shirley) birthday party, which is boycotted by the local bluenoses. Though she would like to remain part of her daughter's life, Stella knows that she and she alone is the reason that Laurel is shunned by the rest of the community.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse

Olive Higgins Prouty’s bestselling novel, about a mother who sacrifices everything for her daughter’s happiness, first made it to the big screen in 1926, but it’s this 1937 remake that became the gold standard for cinematic soap opera. Barbara Stanwyck, previously known for her portrayals of brassy, hard-boiled Depression-era dames, earned an Oscar nomination for her dazzling turn as the working-class good-time girl whose dalliance with a wealthy man (John Boles) produces a daughter she raises to be a lady. Years later, when the father again enters their lives, Stella is faced with the difficult decision of relinquishing the lovely young woman (Anne Shirley) to the parent who can best provide for her. Make no mistake about it: Stella Dallas is an unabashed, grade-A tear-jerker, manipulative in the extreme and (to today’s audiences, at least) more than a little outlandish in its assumptions about social mobility. The degree to which it was successful can be gauged not only by its box-office success and Stanwyck’s Oscar nod but also by the fact that it’s been ripped off and parodied countless times -- in 1990 Bette Midler took a crack at updating it in Stella. But this flawlessly produced version, directed with unusual sensitivity and taste by King Vidor, remains the best.

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola

The height of multiple-hankie melodrama, King Vidor's Stella Dallas (1937) is also the most affecting screen adaptation of the Olive Higgins Prouty novel. As the ultimate self-abnegating mother, Barbara Stanwyck endows her upwardly aspiring Stella with a potent mixture of crass fashion sense, hedonistic energy, self-aware pathos, and maternal love, while Anne Shirley's Laurel is visibly and poignantly torn between embarrassment and daughterly attachment. Stanwyck's dignity gives Stella's sacrifice to the class system the emotional punch that it requires, as she memorably stands outside a bay window in the rain, watching her refined daughter finally get what Stella always wanted for her. Critically praised for its superior performances, Stella Dallas garnered Stanwyck the first of her four Oscar nominations for Best Actress, as well as a Supporting Actress nomination for Shirley. Previously filmed in 1925, Stella Dallas was remade again in 1990 as the Bette Midler vehicle Stella.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/10/2020
UPC: 0883929727360
Original Release: 1937
Source: Warner Archives
Presentation: [Full Frame]
Time: 1:46:00
Sales rank: 28,712

Customer Reviews