Stella Dallas (1937) - Drama, Romance

Hohum Score



A working-class woman is willing to do whatever it takes to give her daughter a socially promising future.

IMDB: 7.4
Director: King Vidor
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles
Length: 106 Minutes
PG Rating: N/A
Reviews: 5 out of 65 found boring (7.69%)

One-line Reviews (29)

And the movie is fast paced, as a lot of 1930s melodramas were.

Tim Holt as the daughter's suitor is handsome, if undistinguished, in a brief role, but John Boles as Stephen Dallas puts a capital "B" on bland.

Slow pace, simple plot, predictable and overly melodrama, I absolutely loved this film.

But, for example, Stephen Dallas is here such an unsympathetic character by comparison with his poor big-hearted suffering wife that it makes their daughter's affection for him look as if she were simply a snob, while Stella's own pursuit of him comes across as opportunistic; John Boles' Stephen is, at best, a handsome well-bred bore, lacking all the life, sympathy and charisma (and genuine love for Stella) that Ronald Colman was able to put into the part.

It's understandably fast paced, considering that it covers around twenty years of its characters' lives.

)This lack of plot logic is precisely the problem with this movie.

While Stella is perhaps not her greatest performance, the role certainly ranks among Stanwyck's most memorable, and this sentimental weepy will empty the tissue box on a rainy afternoon.


A great film worth watching with a great ending.

But considering its time-of-making, it is ever so a telling tale pinpointing a typical mainstream mindset of a yesteryear, what's more compelling is Stanwyck's powerful performance, completely devoid of hammy theatricality, interprets her emotional vicissitude with crafty indicators such as her expressive eyes and imploring bearings in the latter half of the picture particularly.

Although Barbara Stanwyck gave better performances in better films such as "Double Indemnity" and "The Lady Eve," as Stella, she pulls out the stops and puts on a colorful entertaining show.

I recently saw it with my 12 year-old and she actually enjoyed it quite a bit, so the film can be enjoyed by a preteen or teen if they are willing to give it a chance.

COMMENT: Despite its soap opera themes, this is an engaging and engrossing domestic drama.

John Boles is sometimes a little dull as a character that is not particularly meaty (at other points though his gentle approach to the character does appeal).

King Vidor directed his fair share of great films, 'The Big Parade' and 'The Crowd' to name a few, and when melodrama is done right (it's been variable on film) it is both riveting and very emotional when not silly and over-heated.

Actually found it very absorbing and poignant, the ending is justifiably lauded and unforgettable in its emotional impact.

The daughter part is nicely played indeed by Anne Shirley, herself Oscar nominated for her role and John Boles and Barbara O'Neil make a good impression in their upper-class parts but it's Stanwyck as Stella in all her gauche, gaudy but in the end good-hearted glory who makes the film worth watching.

On the whole, I really enjoyed it and I cannot emphasise enough how fantastic Barbara Stanwyck's performance is.

Throughout Vidor's camera is relaxed and unobtrusive, moving little and only closing in on the action at the most intense points, allowing the drama to unfold before us, to make us forget we are watching a movie.

again the acting was very very good and worth watching .

Here is a story worth telling and most definitely worth watching.

John Boles is as bland as ever in his role as Stella's rich (and rather stuffy) husband; and Alan Hale reminds us that he was one of the most watchable character actors, no matter how obnoxious his roles were.

I managed to grasp the point early on and watching the rest of the narrative play out was dull, like filling in the dots on the back of a café's paper menu to wind up with a drawing of a clown or an elephant.

But, for teens and a more contemporary audience, I think this film MIGHT be very slow and perhaps silly in spots.

In fact, generally speaking the twists of the plot line and the characterisations here too often seem contrived to produce arbitrary effect, rather than arising naturally out of the evolution of the people and situations already shown.

Though enjoyable and probably Oscar-worthy for 1937, I doubt that many people could identify with it in the 21st Century.

Director King Vidor typically oversaw such natural yet compelling performances.

Precisely for this reason I finally acquired this film and enjoyed it very much, especially as he shows great perception to depict the cruel and too frequent irreconcilable differences that end relationships.

the acting is very good and Barbara Stanwyck is great but the the movie has always seemed very trite to me .