STELLA DALLAS (1937) B/W 104m dir: King Vidor
w/Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale, Marjorie Main, Edmund Elton, George Walcott, Tim Holt, Gertrude Short, Nella Walker, Bruce Satterlee, Jack Egger, Jimmy Butler, Dickie Jones, Anne Shoemaker, Al Shean
This is the second filming of the popular Olive Higgins Prouty novel, after 1925's "silent" version with Belle Bennett and Ronald Colman. Stanwyck's terrific as a brash, aggressive social climber who marries above her class. After the couple separates, she raises their daughter, but the differences between her lifestyle and that of her estranged husband cause problems, especially in Stanwyck's relationship with the sensitive young woman she has reared (Shirley).
From The Movie Guide: "Grand Vidor soap opera, boasting a brilliant Stanwyck performance. ...
"Despite unforgettable work in a slew of other films [e.g., 1931's THE MIRACLE WOMAN and 1933's THE BITTERN TEA OF GENERAL YEN], Stanwyck was quoted as saying that this was the best acting she's ever done and it remained her favorite role. Only 30 years old at the time of STELLA, she had to be aged considerably to look right as the mother of an adult daughter. The role demanded a vast range of emotion, and Stanwyck wrung every last smile and tear out of every speech. Even when she was simply reacting, Stanwyck emanated frustration channeled into maternal martyrdom, but without an ounce of self-pity. She is well-supported by Shirley and Hale, with John Boles his typical handsome if rather stolid self and Barbara O'Neil fine as the noble rich woman. The film was remade in 1990 as STELLA, with Bette Midler having some effective moments, with no help from anyone else."
STELLA DALLAS was nominated for two Oscars: Best Actress (Stanwyck) and Supporting Actress (Shirley).