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Barbara Stanwyck

Stella Dallas

A millworker’s daughter manoeuvers her way up the social ladder to make a better life for her daughter.

Image from Stella Dallas

USA 1937
Dir King Vidor
With Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley
Certificate U

A quintessential melodrama that came, for many, to define the cinematic depiction of maternal self-sacrifice; it also spurred rich debate over the years. Stanwyck plays a millworker’s daughter who manoeuvers her way up the social ladder, determined all the while to give her own daughter a better life. The film remains a classic of Hollywood’s Golden Age, not least for its famous final sequence.


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