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314 Ratings

Stella Dallas

Directed by King Vidor
United States, 1937
Drama, Romance


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.

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Stella Dallas Directed by King Vidor

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1938 | 2 nominations including: Best Actress in a Leading Role

Critics reviews

Stanwyck’s best role of the 30s came in maternal melodrama Stella Dallas. . . . [Stanwyck] wasn’t afraid to embrace the padded, gaudy frocks, cotton-wool jowls and floozy manners that made Stella unattractive, before tearing the audience’s hearts to pieces in the rain-soaked finale.
January 18, 2019
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Incidental psychedelia notwithstanding, Stella Dallas proved a major revelation for many of us, an undeniable emotional tour de force helmed by one of the studio system’s most underrated craftsman. King may have been the directorial regent at Fox for a time, but his reputation has long been negligible among auteurist cults; Stella Dallas’s heartrending tale of maternal love, embarrassing parents, and class-based fatalism was evidence enough that a widespread reappraisal of his oeuvre is overdue.
July 26, 2016
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In dismissing genre films made for women, critics not only erase the female spectator; they erase women and female heroes, real and fictional. Maternal melodramas, by contrast, recognize and reward the victories of women at the bottom of society. Women like Stella Dallas tend to be poor and destitute, prostitutes, unwed and pregnant, and non-conformist in terms of romance. In short, they subvert society with their disruptive acts of maternal heroism.
February 19, 2016
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