The first question that this remake of the 1937 Barbara Stanwyck vehicle STELLA DALLAS brings to mind is: Why bother? Stanwyck's definitive version (which, along with THE LADY EVE and DOUBLE INDEMNITY, represented a career peak for her), directed by King Vidor, was already a remake of a
1925 silent that itself contained a legendary performance by Belle Bennett. Moreover, even back in 1937 the critics questioned the shameless hokum of this bathetic tale of motherly sacrifice, although they were happy to succumb to Stanwyck's daringly extreme, gut-wrenching portrayal. Actresses
possess nothing if not healthy egos, however, and Bette Midler seems to have had no trepid...