starring Mary Pickford
"Stella Maris" is a photodrama based upon the novel by William J. Locke. One little girl is an invalid from childhood, but all the resources of wealth and kindness are centered upon her life, and she is happy. She knows nothing of the cruelties of existence. Another little girl is a drudge in an orphanage, and has never known what it is to be loved. A journalist is one of the friends of the little invalid. His dissipated wife takes the drudge from the asylum to be her private slave. In a moment of rage the woman nearly kills the drudge, and is sent to prison. The journalist, pitying the little victim, adopts her, and for the first time in her life she learns the taste of kindness. As the years go by, the little invalid is cured, and she and the journalist love each other. The dissipated wife, her sentence expired, discovers this and gloats over the fact that she can keep them apart. The drudge, understanding that the happiness of the one being in the world who has been kind to her, is at stake, cuts the knot with a tremendous deed of self-sacrifice.
Mary Pickford plays both roles -- the happy invalid and the drudge. Prettiness was required for the one, cleverness for the other. You may find it difficult to believe that the hungry looking creature, with stooped shoulders, plastered hair, crooked mouth, and awkward manner, is Your Own Mary. Only in rare moments does she relax into a certain curious semblance of her own lovely self. The fact remains. There are cleverly photographed scenes in which the drudge and the invalid both appear, and talk to each other. Then the contrast is brought out in all its tremendous force. Miss Pickford's drudge is no mere matter of makeup, though the physical difficulties of the role are obvious. But she realizes the character with all her mentality, and sustains it without the slightest lapse.
Marshall Neilan directed the production, and made it exquisitely beautiful when opportunity offered, as well as sordid and relentlessly gripping when the theme was in minor key. The supporting cast is in perfect tune. Conway Tearle plays the journalist and Camille Ankewich the besotted wife.
"Stella Maris" should prove a turning point in the history of America's favorite star. The public will never again be satisfied with plays in which Miss Pickford is not given an opportunity to act.
starring Mary Pickford
MOTION PICTURE CLASSIC
Two things impressed me most in the past four weeks: the playing of Mary Pickford in "Stella Maris" and of Elsie Ferguson in "Rose of the World." These two vehicles are adapted novels, by the way.
"Stella Maris" Artcraft's visualization of William J. Locke's story, has been pronounced the greatest effort of the Pickford career. Why? Because she is permitted to get away from curls and cupid-bow lips to a character role with pathos and humor. Miss Pickford used to do these parts back in the old Biograph days, but people seem to have forgotten. The truth is, Mary Pickford is an actress of infinite humanness, sincerity and personality. And "Stella Maris" gives her opportunities to prove it.
The charm of the Locke novel has been torn away until little more than a conventional movie scenario remains. John Risca, his married life a wreck, centers his love upon a wealthy little cirpple girl, Stella Maris, who knows nothing of life outside her room. Risca employes a little orphan waif, Unity Blake, in his home. Little Unity loves Risca in her own pathetic way, and, when she realizes that the man's drunkard wife stands in the way of his happiness, she kills the woman and herself. Thus the way is opened for Risca to marry Stella, now able to walk thru an operation and coming face to face with the sordid things of life for the first time.
Miss Pickford plays both Stella nd Unity. She suggests the growing disillusionment of Stella admirably and does Unity relentlessly. The Pickford is hardly recognizable in the slatternly little slavey.
"Stella Maris" is away above the screen average, but it isn't Locke. That is, you will admire the dexterity of double photography, but you will regret the loss of Locke charm.
Video Source: Milestone, Nostalgia
For more information, see "Stella Maris" as our "Feature of the Month"
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