Stella Dallas (1925 film)
The Henry King
BELLE BENNETT—ALICE JOYCE—JEAN HERSHOLT
LOIS MORAN—DOUGLAN FAIRBANKS, Jr.
COPYRIGHT MCMXXVI BY SAMUEL GOLDWYN
Adapted for the screen by
|Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.|
Stephen Dallas, Sr.
Springtime, and her twin sister——Romance.
Ever since Stephen Dallas was ten and Helen Dane was seven, they had held their tryst at this swing between their two homes.
"Our engagement will make dad happy, Helen darling—he's been so worried lately."
In shame and disgrace Stephen Dallas turned from all that was dear to him, and hid in a small mill town where the wheels of life grind on relentlessly.
STEPHEN DALLAS JR.
HELEN DANE BEAUTIFUL BRIDE
MRS. CORNELIUS MORRISON (nee Helen Dane)
They expect to be at home to their countless friends after June 15th. [...]
Since childhood, Stella Martin schemed to rise above her sordid surroundings.
"Pa, who's that fellow? He always looks so lonesome. Why don't you ask him over sometime?"
"Swell chance you'd have gettin' him into this dump!"
"Stella! Coffee's boilin' over!"
Make Your Home a
MORNING GLORIES, your [...] colored messengers of [...] convert your [...] into a LOVERS' NOOK.
Feast your eyes upon the nodding blossoms in your own back yard. Inhale the perfume of Heaven's own [...].
SEEDS... IN A PACKAGE
the best of all!
By summer the vines had grown like a web over the porch of Stella's house—a clever little trap into which a lonely man wandered.
Stella seemed no burden in Stephen's arms that evening—but after their marriage the weight of her often lay heavily upon his heart.
"My precious little Laurel bud——"
"Oh, Stephen, I'm giving a swell tea today at the country club."
"—but, honey, you're such a big, important man that I can't be a little old wife poking along behind——"
At the smart country club Stella Dallas was a noticeable figure.
"Yoo-hoo, Eddie.....Oh you Mr. Munn!"
"Come on over—and bring your horse!"
"You girls all know the riding-master?"
"Sure, I learned 'em all to ride."
"Say, brother, little Eddie Munn wants to buy a bottle of wine for the ladies."
"Have you seen this one? A little parlor trick that Eve tried on her Adam's apple."
"Stephen, our directors have rewarded your splendid work by appointing you chief of our legal department in New York."
"This will be great news for my wife, sir. I'll hurry home and tell her!"
"Darned if the offspring ain't got another toofie!"
"Look, Stephen—Mr. Munn's here! He brought me home from the country club, and I've asked him to stay for supper."
"Well—like the roof says to the cyclone, I'm off now!"
"What do you mean by insulting Mr. Munn? He wants to be our friend, and you treat him like he was the measles."
"Let's not discuss that man again, Stella; I have been transferred to New York and we will leave just as soon as you are ready."
"—dragged off to New York, where I don't know anybody—well, I won't go—I won't!"
"Look here, Stella, I won't have my baby brought up in this sort of atmosphere——"
"Maybe I haven't been much of a mother, but I love my baby——and I'd die if she were taken away from me——"
"I'm sorry, Stella, I won't take Laurel away from you. I must go to New York—when you are ready to come—I'll be waiting——"
Years pass swiftly—in a few days Laurel will be ten.
"Miss Philiburn walked home from school with me, mother."
"What I wish to say is not for Laurel's ears——"
"In my school, Mrs. Dallas, I must be most careful—"
"Is there any truth in the rumor that you and Mr. Dallas may be divorced?"
"I should say not! My husband's business keeps him in New York——my friends and your school keep me here."
"Mother, what did Miss Philiburn want?"
"Keep your shirt on, old girl——I'll be right up!"
"Always wanting everything so darn plain and simple—if you ain't the very spit of your father."
"Gee, Ed, you're certainly nutty about Lollie. Anybody would think that you were her father."
"Laurel is going to have a wonderful birthday party. I'm making her a dress and tomorrow I'm going to the city andsome beautiful favors."
"Why don't you spend some of the money the old man sends you, and stop killing yourself for that kid?"
"Back ache? Let old Doc Munn lay a gentle hand on you. Many's the horse I've saved—"
"What do you say if I go to the city with you?"
"Gee, Ed, that would be wonderful—I haven't seen a good show for ages."
"I know a swell chop suey joint—we'll paint the old town red!"
Chop-suey—Burlesque Show—Beer Garden—Stella and Ed missed nothing——
——Neither did the prying eyes of Miss Philiburn.
Stephen never knew that Helen was a widow, until——
"Those are my three fine sons, Stephen."
"I'm in the proud parent class myself, Helen—I have a wonderful little girl——"
Mama is giving me a birthday-party, and all the girls of Miss Philiburn's school will be there. I wish my daddy could come.
Oodles of Love and a million x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Laurel is ten years old today.
"It's two o'clock. They'll be here any minute now."
Miss Philiburn Select School for Girls
My dear Mrs. Dallas:
I regret having to take this severe measure, but I must discontinue your daughter's attendance at my school.
This will explain the children not coming to Laurel's party.
Matilda A. Philiburn
"We'll have our party anyway."
Mama and I are having a happy birthday party.
My little diary has been laid away for three years. I am thirteen now, old enough to really keep one.
Right after my birthday party we moved to the other side of town. I go to another school. On my last visit to father I met Mrs. Morrison. When I grow up I want to be just like her.
"I'm never going to get old like some mothers do—but always keep young and real dressy so you'll be proud of me."
"You drunken loafer, I told you never to come here again!"
"Maybe—maybe he has come to stay."
"Is your trunk coming up later?"
"I was so lonely for you, Laurel, I had to come and steal you away for a week——"
"May I take Laurel to New York with me—for a visit?"
"We have always thought, Stephen, that perhaps you might come back to us."
"I guess it was my darn false pride that kept me away from you all these years, Stephen—is it too late?"
"Why, Stella, I never dreamed that you wanted me."
"Thought you'd put one over on me—pushing me out the back door when somebody came in the front!"
"How was I to know the old man had come home to roost!"
A curt letter from Stephen's lawyer brought Stella to the city.
"Divorce? But I don't want a divorce."
"Why should I give him a divorce——does he want to marry that Mrs. Morrison?"
"If Mr. Dallas files suit, it will reveal a little escapade you have been hiding for years—"
"It's all a pack of lies about me and Ed Munn!"
"Damn you! I'm a lady—I am! Are you tryin' to insult me?"
"I'll never give him a divorce! I'll fight—I'll fight!"
How big and empty the little flat seemed without Laurel.
"I guess I was afraid—that you were never coming home."
"Oh, mother, I had the best time! A whole week at Mrs. Morrison's——I wish you could know her——"
As Laurel grew up, Stella always spent the summers at exclusive resorts where Laurel could meet, "nice young people".
"I must run up and see mother, first."
"What a pity your mother has been ill all the time you have been here."
"Tell your mother I am so glad she will be out in a few days. We're looking forward to meeting her."
"Mother, isn't Laurel wonderful?"
"Sounds like a stomach trouble."
"For a woman with all her money she's got rotten taste in books. And me dying for Elinor Glyn's latest!"
"Now, darling, tell me every little thing you've done today."
"Richard Grovesnor and I—"
"Is my baby in love?"
Days that flew on swallows' wings.
"A walk around the grounds will do you a world of good."
"Oh, look—that funny woman."
"There's that awful woman again—isn't she a freak!"
"She's a panic!"
"I've lost my wrist watch!"
"Don't forget, Laurel—every dance is with me tonight."
"Mother, we're going home now!"
"Why, Lollie, we can't—I'm all dressed up to go down and meet your swell friends!"
"The sleeper for the night train is ready at eight o'clock. We're going aboard early."
"I can't get it. When you are just stepping out into society with the kind of people you like——"
"I'm on, Laurel—you've had a quarrel with your young man."
"Mother—please don't say 'your young man.'"
"Mrs. Dallas and her daughter have checked out."
"Wasn't that terrible about Laurel Dallas?"
"To think that dreadful creature we saw today is Laurel's mother!"
"A refined girl, too! Of course Richard Grovesnor would never marry her with that mother."
"A mother like that is a millstone around her neck. Poor little Laurel!"
"Mother, it's lonesome up there—I want to cuddle here with you."
A weight around her child's neck! A revelation that seared like a white hot iron—destroying pride, almost life itself—brought Stella to the home of "that Mrs. Morrison".
"I've just got to see Mrs. Morrison."
"Are you Mrs. Morrison?"
"I'm Mrs. Stella Dallas."
"What I've got to say won't take a minute."
"I've come here to talk about Laurel—she's just crazy about you."
"What I want to know is: if I let Stephen divorce me, will you and him get married?"
"And—what about Laurel—will you take her?"
"Why no, Mrs. Dallas—I couldn't rob a mother of her only little girl."
"But—you don't understand, Mrs. Morrison——"
"I've thought it all out. If you marry Stephen, your name will be Dallas too; and when Laurel gets married, the wedding invitations will read right."
"I'd like people to think she's yours. You're the kind of a mother she could be proud of; I—I ain't."
"She'll never be nobody with me shackled around one foot."
"You tell Stephen I am ready to get the divorce any day now."
Arm in arm, two mothers, united by an understanding beyond words, walked through the great house.
"This will be Laurel's room."
"Books! Laurel is just nutty about books!"
"May I take one of the roses to remember the room by?"
"Stay as long as Mrs. Morrison——I mean Mrs. Dallas—wants you."
"Write often, sweetheart—"
"—wear that shiny silver dress tonight—I want to see you in my mind's eye when I'm thinking about you."
WOMENS WASH ROOM
"Cheer up, Dearie——it all comes out in the wash."
"You mean to say you have arranged—that I am to live here—always—away from my mother?"
"Please understand that as long as my mother lives, I will never leave her."
"It is your mother's own plan, dear: this home, this environment is her gift to you. She came to see me about it last July."
"She wasn't asleep on the train that night. Oh, my poor mother, my wonderful mother—and they called her 'that woman'—'that awful creature'—'that freak'!"
"I am sorry, father, but I cannot accept my mother's gift——I'm going home to her now."
Through the weary summer months that followed, Stella's heart cried out with pain, What can I do now to save her?
I sent back Richard's letter unopened today. I am so unhappy I wonder sometimes why I go on living. I try to keep from my poor, dear mother how much I love Richard.
110 Clay st.
Grimes Livery StableMillhaven, Mass.
"He ain't drew a sober breath for a month."
"Ed, pull yourself together, we're going to get married."
"Aw right—sure, Stell, old girl—how are yuh—sit down—"
"'Sawright, Stell—I'll be awright t'morrow."
"From an old admirer, darling."
"Your new papa!"
"Now listen here, young lady; regardless of what you say, I'm going to marry Ed Munn!"
When you read this I'll be Mrs. Ed Munn and on our way to Ed's new job in South America. You visit your father until we get back.
Leave the key under the mat.
"Stephen—that pitiful letter—couldn't you read between the lines?"
"Helen dear, you see with the eyes of an angel."
"No, Stephen—with the eyes of a mother."
Autumn is here—people have returned to their city homes, but no one knows what has become of Stella Dallas.
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Dallas
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Mr. Richard Van Dyke Grovesnor
on the evening of Thursday
"You'd better pull down the shade on that side window."
"I told you that tonight the shade on this window was not to be drawn."
"I didn't think my mother would really stay away. I thought she would read about the wedding and come home in time for it."
"Yes, sir, I'm going. I was only seeing how pretty the young lady was."