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9 user 7 critic

Stella Dallas (1925)

Passed | | Drama | 16 November 1925 (USA)
Stella Dallas is a small town girl who marries the upper class Stephen Dallas, with whom she has nothing in common. After the birth of a daughter, Laurel, the Dallases go their separate ... See full summary »

Director:

Henry King

Writers:

Frances Marion (adaptation), Olive Higgins Prouty (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Ronald Colman ... Stephen Dallas
Belle Bennett ... Stella Dallas
Alice Joyce ... Helen Morrison
Jean Hersholt ... Ed Munn
Beatrix Pryor Beatrix Pryor ... Mrs. Grosvenor
Lois Moran ... Laurel Dallas
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Richard Grosvenor
Vera Lewis ... Mrs. Tibbets
Maurice Murphy ... Morrison Child
Jack Murphy Jack Murphy ... Morrison Child
Newton Hall Newton Hall ... Morrison Child
Charles Hatton Charles Hatton ... Morrison Child (older)
Robert W. Gillette Robert W. Gillette ... Morrison Child (older)
Winston Miller ... Morrison Child (older)
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Storyline

Stella Dallas is a small town girl who marries the upper class Stephen Dallas, with whom she has nothing in common. After the birth of a daughter, Laurel, the Dallases go their separate ways. Now confined to poverty, Stella must sacrifice her own life and happiness for the sake of her daughter. Written by Spencer Higham

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A story of mother love, by Olive Higgins Prouty. (Newspaper ad). See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 November 1925 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Opfer der Stella Dallas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$759,154, 31 December 1926
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First of three movies based on the novel by Olive Higgins Prouty. Samuel Goldwyn produced both the silent movie, Stella Dallas (1925), and the first sound version, Stella Dallas (1937), with'Barbara Stanwyck'. His son, Samuel Goldwyn Jr. produced Stella (1990), with Bette Midler. See more »

Connections

Version of Stella (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The difficulties of the American dream
13 October 2015 | by De_SamSee all my reviews

In the schedule of Cinema Zuid this was one of the films I had never heard of before. Looking at the ratings here, on RYM and on Letterboxd, the cinephile audience has too. Quite a shame as this may be the first film that criticises the American dream, more specifically the hardships one of the lower class experienced when trying to assimilate with those of the upper class.

At first I held no sympathy for the protagonist Stella as I found that the troubles she was creating were of her fault. At the midpoint of the film I had to accept that the screenwriter and maybe the author of the original novel, Olive Higgins Prouty, was of the mindset that people of certain classes cannot change their tastes or habits; this reminds me of Pierre Bourdieu's theory of class distinction, based on aesthetic taste and habitus. The film has a deterministic view on these acquired dispositions; Stella grew up in a poor family, therefore she will never understand the ways of the upper class. She can strive to meet the high standards of the upper class, but everything she tries (especially the way she dresses) comes out as kitsch for which she is laughed at by the people she wants to accept her.

When you accept this hypothesis (I found it quite hard as I saw Stella as a smart woman able to change), Stella becomes much easier to empathize with. In her mind upwards social mobility is everything and she will sacrifice everything to get it for her and her daughter.

Unfortunately, this progressive subject is the only interesting and strong point of the movie, the camera-work is fixed and theatrical, the acting is mediocre for all actors except Belle Bennett in the second half of the film. To conclude, it is a film that is more interesting than it is enjoyable.


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