Intro by Dave Kehr, film curator at MoMA
Stella Dallas, the working-class mother who makes the ultimate sacrifice for her socially ambitious daughter, became one of the most resonant figures in American culture from the moment Olive Higgins Prouty’s novel appeared in 1923. A stage adaptation soon followed, as did this film version in 1925 (the first of three). Produced by Samuel Goldwyn and directed by Henry King, the film is a powerful indictment of the rigid class barriers then emerging in the prosperous, postwar America of the 1920s, but the emotional center of the film is Stella (a brilliant portrayal by Belle Bennett, one of 73 actresses tested for the role), who marries “above her station” (to a temporarily embarrassed banker’s son) but is unable to adapt her dress and behavior to the bourgeois standards of her new husband.
Restored by The Museum of Modern Art and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.
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Festival of Preservation
The annual Sag Harbor Cinema Festival of Preservation is made possible with the generous support of our presenting sponsor, Warner Bros-Discovery.
And with additional support from the Suffolk County Film Commission.