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Stella Dallas (1937)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 6 August 1937 (USA)
A working-class woman is willing to do whatever it takes to give her daughter a socially promising future.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Laurel Dallas
...
...
Ed Munn
...
Mrs. Martin
...
Charlie Martin
...
Miss Margaret Phillibrown
...
Richard Grosvenor
...
Mrs. Grosvenor
Bruce Satterlee ...
Con Morrison
Jimmy Butler ...
Con Morrison - Grown Up
Jack Egger ...
John Morrison
...
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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The beginning of filming had been delayed because of a makeup artists' and hairdressers' strike by their unions to win recognition of the studios as a guild shop, and there was only a skeleton crew to groom the actors. Barbara O'Neil, who was making her film debut after years on the stage, was particularly upset by having to cross picket lines and be made up behind drawn curtains by Bob Stephanoff, head of the United Artists makeup department. Rattled by this experience and uncertain about film acting, O'Neil often arrived on the set for her scenes feeling very unsure of herself. Aware of her discomfort, Barbara Stanwyck visited O'Neill in her dressing room to offer encouragement. O'Neill would later recall her as "a marvellous, warm-hearted person. I knew it while working with her, and - recently watching a rerun of Stella Dallas - I understood the depth and strength of her work." See more »

Goofs

When Stephen Dallas is first seen in his office, he's typing a letter. You can see that his fingers type several different keys, spaced out on the keyboard (probably in the middle of the middle rows), before he lowers his hands and stops typing to read. Then when he reads, you see that his letter ends with - -. It's not possible for him to have typed - - using the keys he was striking before he lowered his hands. See more »

Quotes

Arthur W. Morley: Mrs. Dallas, I wrote you a letter, and in it I stated...
Stella Martin 'Stell' Dallas: You don't have to tell me what you stated, just tell me what you meant.
See more »


Soundtracks

Margie
(1920) (uncredited)
Music by Con Conrad and J. Russel Robinson
Played by the orchestra at the dance
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.


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