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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 »
[first title card]
Stella Maris, paralyzed from childhood, has been tenderly shielded from all the sordidness and misery of life. So she dwells serenly within a dream-world created by those who love her, unaware of sorrow, poverty, or death.
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Lovely, crippled STELLA MARIS lives like a princess, sheltered from all of the world's unpleasantness. Orphan Unity Blake, on the other hand, suffers under life's harsh hand. These two young women are fated to be brought together with tragic, unforeseen consequences...
America's Sweetheart, Mary Pickford, even though a tremendous movie star, had always been bothered by the fact that show business had kept her from acquiring a normal education. She asked her dear friend, screenwriter Frances Marion, to tutor her. One of the books they read together was "Stella Maris" by William J. Locke. Mary quickly saw the novel's cinematic possibilities.
What startled the studio bosses was Mary's determination to play the parts of both Stella and Unity. She was sure this could be achieved convincingly. For the role of Unity, Pickford wore makeup that negated her pretty features, learned to stand & walk awkwardly & even insisted that she be photographed mostly using her right, less photogenic, profile. The effect was most believable.
The result was a triumph, professionally, artistically & at the box office. Mary tugged at the viewer's heartstrings, but never crossed the line into cheap mugging or maudlin histrionics. She earned her accolades with genuine, sincere emotion & pathos.
Frances Marion's screenplay allowed both of Mary's characters to share some screen time. Double exposure would produce a special effect that puzzled & delighted contemporary audiences.
Although Mary dominates the film, mention should be made of Conway Tearle who ably plays the strong, sensitive man who loves Stella; Marcia Manon is very effective as his brutal, alcoholic wife; and Josephine Crowell scores in another of her matronly roles.
After years of neglect, STELLA MARIS is available on video to enchant whole new generations of Pickford fans.
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