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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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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The early silent film "Stella Maris" provides a double dose of Mary Pickford for her fans as she plays both the title role of Stella Maris and that of another young girl, Unity. Ms. Pickford skillfully differentiates the two characters and is convincing as both young women. Stella Maris is a rich, bedridden young woman who has been shielded from the reality of life by her parents, and Mary Pickford plays her as the quintessential Pickford heroine in lacy frills, long curls, and winsome glances. However, Mary loses herself in the part of Unity, who is an orphan that has been buffeted by events and hardened by life. In this second role, Pickford appears without makeup, with her hair straight and tightly pulled back, and dressed in plain cotton dresses, and she excels in creating a character that is entirely different from her usual screen image. In fact, if the viewer were not told in the inter-titles who was playing the role, she would be nearly unrecognizable. The film cuts between the lives of the two girls until they intersect, and the few shots that show Mary playing a scene with herself are quite effective when the age of the film is considered. Production values throughout are at a high standard for the time as befitting a Mary Pickford vehicle, and the acting for the most part is more naturalistic than many silents of that era, although at least one actress does emote in the grand style. Conway Tearle, however, appears too old and stodgy for modern tastes to be a convincing object of young women's affections, although 90 years ago he may have been a matinée idol since tastes do change over time. "Stella Maris" is a sentimental tale and seems targeted at a young female audience in a simpler, more naive period. However, film history buffs will enjoy what is an excellent Mary Pickford showcase and a fine example of first-class film-making from the post World War I era.
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