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Stella Dallas (1937) Film Review

Autor:   •  November 21, 2015  •  Dissertation  •  4,808 Words (20 Pages)  •  561 Views

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Stella Dallas (King Vidor, 1937) is a key illustration of how a supreme director, a star actress of remarkable aptitudes and a fine gathering of specialised experts can raise a wistful story into artistic workmanship. This essay will examine the relationship between the stars such as Stella Martin and the direction on screen and also exploring the key themes of the film, the performance to the composition of the images, the star’s previous roles and the mise-en-scene. The heart-twisting execution as Stella Martin raised Barbara Stanwyck to another level of fame, acquiring her expanded stature the film business. However something in Stella Dallas solidified her onscreen persona, joining harsh strength with flashes of hearty silliness, a touch of disaster and an extravagant vitality that keeps Stella's story from becoming simple, nauseating soap-opera. The film is about Stella Martin who is the daughter of a factory labourer in a factory town in 1919 Massachusetts, who makes a play for and finally marries the rich and publicly famous mill executive Stephen Dallas played by John Boles. By character, Stella is an unruly, crude party girl who figures out how to curb her identity at first however soon, to Stephen's disappointment, returns to her old ways. After the birth of a daughter Laurel, the couple parts and Stella brings up with her old lover, the low-class gambler Ed Munn. She inevitably understands that, in place for her daughter to claim a spot in the public eye, she will need to venture out of her life. Stella Dallas has been central to open deliberations over the significant outcomes of melodrama, with a few critics affirming the film's feminism and others focusing on its involvement with patriarchy.

Stanwyck acquires the character of Stella and crafts a woman of capital, and accepting that she needs to continue approving herself to justify it. Stella Dallas earned Stanwyck the first of her four Academy Award nominations for Best Actress in which Stanwyck herself considered the self-sacrificing Stella to be:

A double challenge because the- role had to be played on two levels, almost making Stella two separate women. On the surface, she had to appear loud and flamboyant—with a touch of vulgarity. Yet while showing her in all her commonness, she had to be portrayed in a way that audiences would realize that beneath the surface her instincts were fine, heartwarming and noble. Part of her tragedy was that while she recognized her own shortcomings, she was unable to live up to the standards she so painstakingly set for herself. (Stanwyck, 1972, p. 92).

The film unobtrusively supports this perspective, speaking to Stella as most appealing and thoughtful when at her most natural, particularly in times of maternal anguish like the train scene and the last street scene in the film, ‘where soft focus and subtle top lighting make her apparently make-up-free face radiant and light up her frizzy hair like


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