Stella Maris is a beautiful, crippled girl, who is cared for by a rich family. They shield her from the harsh realities of the world, so that she has no idea of the cruel things that some ... See full summary »
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Cecil B. DeMille
Stella Maris is a beautiful, crippled girl, who is cared for by a rich family. They shield her from the harsh realities of the world, so that she has no idea of the cruel things that some people do. Unity Blake is a poor orphan all too familiar with the harsh realities of the real world. These two young women both fall in love with John, love which is complicated by the fact that he is still married to (though separated from) a bad wife. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
When John Riska returns to his house one night, Unity offers him a 'Sally Lun' (sic). A 'Sally Lunn' is a type of bread, from Bath in the English West Country. The recipe is said to have come to the area courtesy of a French immigrant in the 17th century. It can be served sliced horizontally and toasted, with sweet or savoury toppings such as plain or flavoured butters, jam and clotted cream. See more »
Nice melodrama with stunning performance by Pickford
Mary Pickford, that gamine of silent movie cinema is showcased in what might have been her best performance. Being nary a fan of her performance, I think this high praise indeed. I believe if there were the Academy Awards in those early days of cinema, she clearly would have worn it. She did win one in 1929 for Coquette which is just terrible, at least from a modern perspective- static camera movements and broadway like staging undermine any goodwill. Like much of today's actresses who win Oscars eg Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman, the make up artist deserves high praise. The dsiparity between Unity and Stella is so convincing that when using technology of the time, they are placed in the same shot together, it is startling to wonder how it was acheived. The story is a classic melodrama about a man with a slightly crazy,evil and alcoholic wife who is bewedded to. There is Stella, a cripple whom the horrors of the world is shielded from and there is Unity, an orphan who has experienced the worst of the world and is almost bitten to death by the crazy wife, sending her to jail and making her husband in a case of pity and symphathy, Unity's guardian. Stella learns to walk after an operation and lives her sheltered enclosure to experience the hubris of life, learning about poverty, murders and other human evils. This shatters her. She and Unity are both in love with the kindly and gentle man. Lest to say for love to survive and conquer all, certain sacrifices are made. This is obviously a first rate production with grand art direction and gorgeous cinematography setting the mood but there are aspects that derail the movie including the inefficient rationalization of Stella's awakening. It is handled rather patly and not psycologically probing. I also found the the man character rather bland and boring as effused. The director's symbolism is rather thick especially the use of the cat and a dog to express the disharmony in the world. All in all, a dynamic performance by Pickford as Unity and a fairly rousing Victorian denouemwnt and resolution make it a see. It might help if you knew it was a huge box office smash surprising studio bosses.
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