1. This is brilliant. You’ve described EXACTLY what’s going on in this film, and you’ve done so eloquently. I never liked the husband in this film, but never thought much about it. But, as I was reading your post, I was saying – out loud – “Yeah, that’s right!” and “You said it!” and “Preach it, sister!”

    Thank you for joining the blogathon and for sharing your insightful essay with us. I’m going to be writing about Stella Dallas in a couple of weeks, and I am definitely linking to this post.

  2. Great choice for the blogathon! I appreciate this film, mainly because of Stanwyck’s performance, but I’ve always been uncomfortable with it, too. The theme of the woman being made to sacrifice everything she cares for while her husband gets everything without having to really work for it…yeah, it doesn’t sit well with me.
    I often find myself wondering what happens to the characters in a film after the credits roll. What becomes of Stella—what does the future hold for her? Is there any chance she will ever reconcile with her daughter?

    • Yes, her performance is stunning. I’d forgotten until I rewatched it just how good she is in it. Really upsets me she didn’t get the Oscar. It’s funny you say that. I kept finding myself thinking the same. Maybe Laurel will initiate a visit, find her mom. She’s not the most perceptive soul, but in time, surely, she’d catch on.

  3. I absolutely love this! First of all, this entire time, until I saw John Boles’s picture, I thought you were referring to Alan Hale’s character! So when I realized my mistake, I couldn’t wait to see what you had to say — and, boy, was I not disappointed! I’ve always rather abhored Stephen Dallas, and now I know exactly why. I am figuratively standing up and cheering for your first-rate post, Leah — it was the bomb dot com. Thanks so much for contributing it to our blogathon!

    • Thank you! And thanks for another great blogathon! I actually like Alan Hale’s character. He’s weak and causes problems for Stella, but he’s also a sweet guy whose heart is in the right place. Not so for the husband. No heart at all:)

  4. This was a treat. I’ve always thought Stephen Dallas was a self-centered boob. You outlined his boobishness perfectly. I think this may be my favorite of the blogathon. Stephen Dallas isn’t your obvious movie villain, but a more subtle kind, which in some ways makes his actions more painful and devious. Can’t wait until next year’s choice. Good job!

  5. Mike S.

    I totally agree with your wonderful, dead-on assessment of Stephen Dallas. When I first saw this film in my teens, I didn’t understand why it annoyed me even though I enjoyed it. Years later, with more life experience and awareness, I got it.

  6. Aaaaaaa – finally someone who understands my hatred towards this movie. Stella isn’t a saint who sacrifices herself, she is the victim of her asshole husband! I loved, loved your post and I agree with each word in it.

    • Thank you, Le! I definitely hate the message of the movie, and how it’s been interpreted. But I love the character of Stella, and Stanwyck’s performance of it—only thing that gets me through it. But how differently I’d feel about it, if the goal were to show how manipulative a spouse can be!

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