Stella Dallas, or: All Your Tears Are Belong to Us

Stella Martin (Barbara Stanwyck), the ambitious daughter of a factory worker, falls for Stephen Dallas (John Boles), an executive at the factory whose former fiance, Helen (Barbara O’Neil) has recently married another man. Stella finagles a meeting with Stephen and the two of them begin dating. Before long, they are married with a young daughter,…

“You even have to murder a man politely!”

Sometimes, a film comes along that seems to think of itself as far cleverer than it may actually be. I find this to be particularly true when considering some of the more popular films to come out of the past decade; ever since 90s hits like The Usual Suspects (1995) and The Sixth Sense (1999) delighted many viewers…

A bit of breakfast (for two).

“Butch,” the loyal valet of playboy shipping heir Jonathan Blair, enters his employer’s bathroom one morning, chattering away about the bright, beautiful day. He asks Jonathan what he would like to wear, only to have the shower door fly open as a shower-capped Valentine Ransome pokes her head out and asks for a bath towel.…

A month of Stany goodness.

At last count (as in, I just counted five minutes ago), I have twenty-two unwatched films on the DVR, all of which I have recorded from TCM over the past two months. And though it wasn’t by design, I realized recently that five of these movies feature Barbara Stanwyck. To top that off, I also…

Play it on the G-string.

“I wasn’t naked. I was completely covered by a blue spotlight.” –Gypsy Rose Lee The roots of modern theatrical burlesque can be found as early as the mid-nineteenth century, emerging first in the deceptively-straitlaced Victorian period in England, and then traveling across the Atlantic to American shores not long after. The concept of burlesque did…

Classic couture.

One of the sheer joys of watching a classic film is the opportunity to catch a glimpse of how people lived in generations long before your own. In particular, I always find it fascinating to see how people used to dress during different periods in time. And I can’t tell you how many times I…