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 »
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
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 »
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 »
In the '30s, musicals glorifying rich people dominated Hollywood; "Stella Dallas" turned that genre on its head. Stella Martin (Barbara Stanwyck) comes from the working class and is as unrefined as can be. She decides to get out of that life by marrying very wealthy Stephen Dallas (John Boles). They have a daughter, Laurel (Anne Shirley), but then Stella and Stephen begin to drift apart from each other. As Stella refuses to adapt to the rich lifestyle, she decides to sacrifice everything so that Laurel may live a better life.
Watching the movie, I can see why producer Samuel Goldwyn cried when he saw it. The top-notch acting from all the cast members, and the excellent use of cinematography, make this a movie meriting all forms of accolades. It is a perfect movie in every way, shape and form. Above all, it shows what a great actress Barbara Stanwyck was. Few movies have ever been as great as "Stella Dallas".
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