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Stella Dallas (1937)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  6 August 1937 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 2,721 users  
Reviews: 52 user | 23 critic

A low-class woman is willing to do whatever it takes to give her daughter a socially promising future.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Title: Stella Dallas (1937)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
John Boles ...
Stephen Dallas
...
Laurel Dallas
...
Helen Morrison
...
Ed Munn
Marjorie Main ...
Mrs. Martin
George Walcott ...
Charlie Martin
Ann Shoemaker ...
Miss Margaret Phillibrown
...
Richard Grosvenor
...
Mrs. Grosvenor
Bruce Satterlee ...
Con Morrison
Jimmy Butler ...
Con Morrison - Grown Up
Jack Egger ...
John Morrison
Dickie Jones ...
Lee Morrison
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Storyline

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. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The emotional classic of the screen See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 August 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Als het moederhart spreekt  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was so popular it became a radio serial on 25 October 1937, dramatizing the later lives of characters in the movie. The serial lasted for eighteen years. See more »

Goofs

Ed Munn's photo on Stella's mantle moves from being beside the flowers to being directly in front of them. See more »

Quotes

Stella Martin 'Stell' Dallas: I've always been known to have a stack of style!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sanford and Son: The Infernal Triangle (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday to You
(1893)
Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
Variations in the score for Laurel's birthday party
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Complexity of Mother Love
21 March 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Stella Dallas is probably one of the most complex roles in a soap opera for any female actress to play. She's loud, brassy, and vulgar. She also knows that she desperately wants some kind of class. Her problem is that she thinks she can marry it and her problems are solved.

For Barbara Stanwyck as Stella Martin that was only the beginning when she married Stephen Dallas played by John Boles. They come from different worlds, Stanwyck and Boles, and even with the birth of a daughter it doesn't bring them together.

Samuel Goldwyn had great success with the silent version of Stella Dallas, it was his biggest moneymaker as a silent film. Goldwyn waited until he found the right actress for Stella before doing it again.

Though he wanted Ruth Chatterton to play Stella, he was more than pleased with Barbara Stanwyck's Oscar nominated performance. Stanwyck hits Stella on every level just right, especially when she realizes after overhearing some women on a train talking about how vulgar she is and realizing what harm she was doing to her now grown up daughter played by Anne Shirley. Stanwyck makes the ultimate sacrifice for a mother and tears at the audience's hearts.

Two other performances I liked in Stella Dallas. One was Barbara O'Neil as Mrs. Morrison the widow who became John Boles's second wife. Her scene with Stanwyck as Stanwyck tells her to take Shirley off her hands is a classic. Barbara O'Neil was gracious and charming, and exhibits a discerning heart. This would have been her career role had she not also played Scarlett O'Hara's mother in Gone With the Wind.

The other performance is from that scene stealer Alan Hale as the good time salesman who Stanwyck takes up with. He's as vulgar as she is, but he also is not a bad person, just not anyone's ideal husband. Still they're as suited for each other as Boles and Stanwyck were not.

I guess the moral of the Stella Dallas story is that romance is not like water, it does not seek its own level. Maybe it should however.


27 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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