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Hollywood film genres: Melodrama

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  1. Introduction
  2. The study of different scenes in the movie
  3. Understanding Stella Dallas
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

?Something else besides a mother? this was Stella Dallas' excuse to her daughter in order to alienate her bond with her daughter and secure the latter's marriage into the upper class society.

Discussing the key-scenes of the film that reveal the two contradictory roles Stella has undertaken for herself, womanly desire on one hand and motherly duty on the other, and especially concentrating on the last scene of the ?happy ending? that actually underlines the fact that such a reconciliation of the two contradictory roles is impossible.

Stella Dallas is a film which has been categorized as a family melodrama, and more precisely a mother-daughter melodrama addressed to bourgeois women audiences, made in 1937 by King Vidor. It is the story of a woman, who becomes a mother; this woman encounters several difficulties in her role as a mother. As a woman, she wants to climb the social ladder, to belong to the upper class and to have fun; she has to be protective, to take care of her daughter.

[...] In this story, Stella tried to live the 'contradiction' between two attitudes, the fulfillment of her role as a woman and as a mother. Of course, at least, her destiny as it is presented in the film raises questions. However, this woman who tried to resist the patriarchal point of view is punished which insist on these patriarchal norms. In the end, she is a passive, suffering heroin, and it illustrates the failure of the female subject in the society. [...]


[...] Stella's point of view in the movie is always disapproved by people who have more power than herself. It is true that the good point in this is that we don't have one controlling point of view, but we can identify to several characters. However, the last word only seldom belongs to Stella who is often contradicted. She is opposed to a very positive feminine character, H. Morrison, who seems to be the perfect wife, perfect mother and perfect woman. [...]

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