The close relationship between a woman and her two male childhood friends is tested when she accepts a marriage proposal from one of them, while the burgeoning First World War threatens to change their lives forever.
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
Barbara Stanwyck underwent a physical transformation to play her role, in which she ages some 15 or 20 years. For the first and only time in her career, she bleached her hair. In other movies where she appears blonde, she is wearing a wig - and she does don them for certain scenes here. But she wanted to use her own hair whenever possible. Wearing wigs, she said, would mean that "I couldn't do anything with my hands, like running them through my hair. Furthermore, in her home Stella's hair was neglected, unkempt - and that just can't be done realistically except with one's own hair." Goldwyn's head designer, Omar Kiam, outfitted her with some outrageously tacky costumes that reflected her character's lack of taste. Late in the film, he added lumpy padding to her torso and legs. She wore five pairs of hose to make her ankles look thick, and at times her cheeks were stuffed with cotton. "It was a matter of upholstery," Stanwyck later laughed. See more »
Ed Munn's photo on Stella's mantle moves from being beside the flowers to being directly in front of them. See more »
Make no mistake: this is a soap opera, plain and simple. Normally, that turns me off but I didn't mind here because Barbara Stanwyck is just superb to watch. Playing the title role, she dominates the film, and that's fine with me. I usually find her an interesting woman who makes her characters come alive.
This is a powerful story, especially so, I would presume, if you are the mother of a teenage girl. Here, Anne Shirley plays Stanwyck's daughter. What "Stella" (Stanwyck) does at the end of the film makes for a great story but I doubt, frankly, if any mother could do that. The story is guaranteed to make some impact your emotions! I don't want to say more to spoil anything.
I enjoyed John Boles role in here and really, really liked Barbara O'Neil's character, "Helen Morrison Dallas." Personally, I couldn't watch this many times but if I think it has so much to offer that I readily understand those who would watch this over and over. It has a lot going for it.
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