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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 »
STELLA MARIS has got to be one of the great silent films. Superstar Mary Pickford plays two roles in this seemingly sentimental tale (but it's not). She plays the lovely but crippled Stella Maris, whose family works hard to hide the ugliness of life from. She is shielded from the world because she is crippled. But of course her family doesn't do her any real favors. Eventually Stella is able to walk, and she discovers the horrors of war and crime and poverty by herself.
Pickford also plays Unity Blake, a homely and misshapen orphan who is taken from the orphanage by a cruel and drunken woman (Marcia Manon) who eventually beats her and goes to jail. Sent back to the orphanage, Unity is "hired" by the cruel woman's husband (Conway Tearle), but he is enamored of beautiful Stella Maris.
Pickford is just plain brilliant in playing these two women (and yes they share a few scenes together). Stella is pretty much standard fare for Pickford: golden curls, white frilly dresses, etc. Unity is a marvel of invention with her crooked body, crooked smile, and long dark hair. It's hard to believe this is Mary Pickford.
The film itself uses the iris shot beautifully to show what characters are thinking. The fade outs are well done. The scenes where the two Pickford characters appear together are flawless. Of special note is a gorgeous shot of Unity approaching the camera for a closeup, but in the end only her eyes show up in a deep purple tinted scene.
The ending is haunting. Superb work.
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