Wednesday, July 2, 2014

C&LM: Stella Dallas

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This week I wanted to share a movie I actually watched twice in one day because I loved it so much. It was such a good movie and Barbara Stanwyk is a wonderful actress. This 1937 film is called Stella Dallas and stars Barbara Stanwyk, John Boles, and Anne Shirley. Stella Martin (Stanwyk) comes from a poor family but she wants more out of life. She meets a very wealthy executive, Stephen Dallas, they fall in love immediately and get married. Stella is then thrown into the life of the wealthy and she quickly finds that she loves her new lavish lifestyle, but those around her find her a little too crass and "low class". 

The couple has a beautiful daughter Laurel, and it becomes quickly apparent that she is the only thing holding them together. Stephen takes a job in New York and Stella refuses to move herself and Laurel out of town, so he leaves, yet they remain married. This goes on for years, and Stella befriends a kind of goofy character named Ed Munn, who over the years becomes an alcoholic. Laurel does not approve of him so much, and has to deal with other children and parents talking badly about her mother. 

Stella notices this and decides to take Laurel on a trip to a resort, where Laurel meets Richard, the boy she will eventually marry. Stella overhears some of the chatter about herself and realizes that in order to help her daughter (even though Laurel never said anything to her) she decided to divorce Stephen, allowing him to remarry to his lost love, and send Laurel to live with him by tricking her into thinking she was moving to South America with Ed Munn.

Laurel goes to live with her father, stepmother, and step-siblings, and plans her wedding to Richard. Stella doesn't really leave, but she has to stay away from her daughter's happiest day to make her happy. It was just so touching because Stella just really loved Laurel so much that she would sacrifice herself to make her daughter happy.

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