Stella Dallas (1937)
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Fantasic performance from Stanwyck. A very interesting plot. If you are a fan of Stanwyck then you are guaranteed to appreciate this movie.
In no capacity is Stella Dallas a villain. I'm not even sure why her character was nominated for the 100 villains list. Everything she does after she gives birth to Laurel is in service to her. Just because she has her own style and likes to have a laugh doesn't make her an antagonist. it makes the society look snobbish. But the snobbery is never acknowledged
In contrast to fairy tale romcoms like Sabrina where marrying into high society is the ultimate goal and spells happiness forever after for the romantic protagonist, Stella Dallas marries the lead off early, and turns it into a much more realistic story where ambition destroys relationships, priorities shift with age, and over-reaching leads to humiliation. There IS upward mobility in the film, but it's not meant to be immediate, and while the whole high society business is dated, it can still be seen as an expression of first-generation college attendees, etc. But Stella Dallas is all about Barbara Stanwyck. Everyone else, with the possible exception of Alan Hale's lusty Ed Munn, gives a mannered and wet performance. They're in an old-fashioned melodrama and lack complexity, while Stanwyck is thoroughly modern and acting her socks off as the single mother who will sacrifice everything for her daughter, having transferred her hopes and dreams to her.
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In 4 official lists
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This movie ranks #16 in Akira Kurosawa's A Dream Is a Genius
This movie ranks #108 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #197 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
This movie ranks #722 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films: 1001-2000