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Stella Dallas [VHS]

4.6 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • Directors: King Vidor
  • Writers: Gertrude Purcell, Harry Wagstaff Gribble, Joe Bigelow, Olive Higgins Prouty, Sarah Y. Mason
  • Producers: Merritt Hulburd
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Original recording reissued, NTSC
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
  • VHS Release Date: July 5, 2000
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792845951
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,919 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Michael Click on July 8, 2000
Format: DVD
Sure, the script is 99.44% pure soap opera, and no, it hasn't aged particularly well. But "Stella Dallas" remains watchable thanks to the tour de force performance given by Barbara Stanwyck in the title role. Encumbered by some overly sentimental dialogue and weighed down by poor costuming choices that threaten to make her character seem ludicrous rather than pathetic or garish, Stanwyck overcomes all obstacles by investing her every scene with a disarming sincerity and heartfelt honesty. She rises far above the script; indeed, some of her finest moments are those in which she says not a word (her painful self-realization in the train berth; her barely controlled suffering as she deliberately goads her daughter into rejecting her; and of course, the famous ending shot in which she strides triumphantly into the night). Stanwyck is beautifully abetted by Anne Shirley in an Oscar-nominated supporting performance, and Alan Hale and Barbara O'Neil also shine. But this is Stanwyck's movie all the way, and she alone holds it together and makes it work.
The DVD transfer is far from perfect. There is a lot of "video noise" throughout the movie, and the contrast often seems lacking. There is no theatrical trailer or stills gallery; the only bonus is a cast and crew filmography that is prone to error and omissions: Stanwyck was NOT Oscar-nominated for "The Lady Eve" in 1941 as indicated; her four Best Actress races were in 1937 ("Stella Dallas"), 1941 ("Ball of Fire"), 1944 ("Double Indemnity"), and 1948 ("Sorry, Wrong Number"). Still, this DVD is an improvement over the VHS release, and a must-have for fans of the incomparable Stanwyck.
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Format: DVD
I read a magazine article once where the writer said Stanwyck was not an actress with the range of Bette Davis or Katharine Hepburn. With all due respect to Davis and Hepburn, Stanwyck could act rings around them. She was far more versatile than either of them (playing villainesses, comedy, drama and musicals with equal finesse) and was never hammy as Bette Davis was with her popping eyes, neck wringing and clipped speech or mannered as Katharine Hepburn was with her high patrician attitude and twittering, voice. Stella Dallas simply attests to this fact. There are so many facets to Stanwyck's portrayal and so many memorable scenes that rival the best any actress in Hollywood had to offer. 1) The scene on the train with Anne Shirley where she pretends to be asleep after overhearing her daughter's friends degrade Stella, 2) the farewell at the train station where she send Laurel (Anne Shirley) to her father), 3) the scene at the Mirador Hotel where she steps out in bangles and beads and a loud dress and she is mimicked by some young boys (that ain't a woman, that's a Christmas tree), 4) the scene where Stella is attempting to get rid of Ed Munn with a plucked turkey stuffed in the oven, 5) the birthday party scene with Laurel where nobody comes, 6) the scene where she pretends she doesn't love Laurel and tells her she wants to marry Ed Munn, 7) the scene where she sacrifices Laurel to Stephen Dallas' new wife (played by Barbara O'Neil) and last but not least, the now classic scene where she watches Laurel's wedding outside in the rain and emerges triumphant knowing that Laurel will have the life she never could. Top all of this with a great supporting cast, an excellent script and an unforgettable musical score and you have Stanwyck's best movie and Hollywood magic of 1937!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Tearjerker supreme, with a top-notch performance by Barbara Stanwyck, who impersonates and gives true life to coarse, low class, self-effacing Stella Dallas, "mother above all". This is one of the greatest and strongest dramatic performances ever achieved on the screen by an American actress.
Stanwyck plays an ambitious girl of humble origins, who falls in love and marries recently impoverished aristocratic Boles (Stephen Dallas), whose social differences eventually separate them. She raises their little child, Laurel, suffering, crying and sacrificing herself for her daughter's sake, from then onwards.
John Boles is quite effective, but, as usual, lacks punch as Stephen Dallas. On the other hand, Anne Shirley is believable and very good as grown-up Laurel. Alan Hale is simply incredible and the epitome of vulgarity, as lowbrow and ever-partying Ed Munn; and Barbara O'Neil (future Scarlett O'Hara's mother) is rightly patrician, well-bred and classy, as Boles' old-time fiancée and friend.
In spite of its 30's ultrasentimentality by today's standards, absolutely recommended viewing. The DVD quality is good indeed.
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Format: VHS Tape
My grandmother remembered seeing this movie when it originally came out in 1937. When I started getting into Barbara Stanwyck, about a year ago, she recalled this film as being the only film she ever cried at when she was younger. Mind you that the main form of entertainment during the 30s and 40s were movies, and she saw MANY! So, to be nice, I went out and purchased a copy of the movie, and surprised her one day and we watched it. The year was 1997. She still cried. 60 YEARS LATER, the same movie she remembered as the only movie she ever cried at when she was younger, still got her the same way. Just a few weeks ago, we watched it again. Again, tears welled up in her eyes. This just goes to show the power of a brilliantly made, brilliantly acted film. And "Stella Dallas" combines both beautiful production and wonderful acting to produce one of THE BEST tear-jerkers ever made. Barbara Stanwyck as a mother who sacrifices everything for her only daughter (Anne Shirley), was nominated for an Oscar, and rightfully so! The scenes are classic, especially the final one, which I won't give away. This is a MUST SEE film..."Stella Dallas" will not disappoint you... END
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