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Stella Maris (1918)

Unrated | | Drama | 21 January 1918 (USA)
Two young women - a paraplegic girl sheltered by her wealthy guardians and a more experienced orphan - fall in love with a man separated from his violent wife.

Director:

Marshall Neilan (as Marshall A. Neilan)

Writers:

William J. Locke (from the novel by), Frances Marion (photoplay)
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An orphan discovers that she has an anonymous benefactor who is willing to pay her college tuition, unaware he's the same man who has been romantically pursuing her.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Mary Pickford ... Miss Stella Maris / Unity Blake
Ida Waterman Ida Waterman ... Lady Eleanor Blount - aka Aunt Julia
Herbert Standing Herbert Standing ... Sir Oliver Blount
Conway Tearle ... John Risca - also Spelled Riska
Marcia Manon Marcia Manon ... Louisa Risca - also Spelled Louise Riska
Josephine Crowell ... Aunt Gladys Linden
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Storyline

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 <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

21 January 1918 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le roman de Mary See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pickford Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(alternate)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Miss Stella Maris: Why are you so unhappy, John?
John Risca, also spelled Riska: Because - I love you!
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1998, the Mary Pickford Foundation copyrighted a video version produced by Timeline Films and Milestone Film & Video, and running 84 minutes. It has an orchestral score composed by Philip C. Carli and played by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra. See more »

Connections

Referenced in An Awfully Big Adventure (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Absolutely Superb Work by Mary Pickford
8 December 2007 | by drednmSee all my reviews

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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