- Sunday, August 28, 2011 3:00 p.m.
Stella Dallas is an emotionally rich interwar melodrama. At the center of the film is a striking performance from Barbara Stanwyck as Stella, who marries “up” to executive Stephen Dallas, striving to leave her working-class background behind. Their marriage loses its luster, but not before their daughter, Laurel, is born. Stella projects her fantasies of upward mobility onto Laurel, causing tension that is expertly played by Stanwyck and the young Anne Shirley. At the film’s end, Stella’s actions seal her daughter’s future, a revelation made all the more powerful by Stanwyck’s performance. (35mm)