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"Something Else besides a Mother": "Stella Dallas" and the Maternal Melodrama

Linda Williams
Cinema Journal
Vol. 24, No. 1 (Autumn, 1984), pp. 2-27
DOI: 10.2307/1225306
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1225306
Page Count: 26
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Abstract

This article asks what is different about a classic narrative film in which the primary "look" motivating the narrative is between mother and daughter--e.g., when the typical look of desire articulates a visual economy of mother-daughter possession and dispossession and when the significant viewer of this drama is herself a woman. King Vidor's "Stella Dallas" is thus used as an interesting test case for many important concepts of recent feminist film theory as well as for feminist thinking about the formation of the female subject.

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