Stella Maris

1918

Drama

2
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 90% · 10 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 78% · 50 ratings
IMDb Rating 6.9/10 10 1581 1.6K

Top cast

Mary Pickford as Miss Stella Maris / Unity Blake
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
763.06 MB
1280*950
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 23 min
Seeds 11
1.38 GB
1456*1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 23 min
Seeds 18

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Spondonman 8 / 10

"Happiness is within ourselves" - although films like this help!

This is a lovely little film, another Mary Pickford film that has been long available to cherish as an artifact from a long forgotten era beautifully preserved by the Mary Pickford Institute. Most silent fans would perhaps think of Pollyanna, Rebecca or Sparrows as being her best work but I would put this one in there too, not only for her acting but also the production.

She plays Stella Maris - a cripple who has been completely and tenderly shielded from The World by her Uncle and Aunt, so has a few shocks when she's finally able to walk and process information for herself. She convincingly plays Stella Maris complete with pretty curls glistening in soft focus and dripping elegance. She also convincingly plays orphan girl Unity Blake adopted by the man she loves, the more elderly looking and well-chiselled John Risco (Conway Tearle). The problem was of course that rich Risco had previously married a "commoner" with a drink problem – like many in the original cinema audiences perhaps – one of the peripheral familiar messages here being that when the working class is teetotal they're likely to be as faithful as dogs to their masters and mistresses. Even to the death. For the plain girl Unity she plastered her hair with Vaseline and walked lopsided as though she had had to carry children for years – so well that her mother visiting the film set was worried that she was turning into Unity, and also had to tell a worried Adolph Zukor that the character died early in the picture. In fact, these are 2 of Mary's finest performances ever, and in the one film. There's some nice languid photography, sometimes pretty inventive with great tinting throughout, overall engrossing stuff for 1917, and augmented in the Milestone Films release with a fantastic orchestral music score by Phillip Carli.

The 84 minutes are well plotted (even with a couple of large implausibilities, the largest being just how fast and hard the Law dealt with Mrs Risco for her violence) never drag and are additionally clean and decent – would that it could still be the same for these speedier earthier techno times! If you really like silent melodrama you must see this fine romance.

Reviewed by dglink 8 / 10

Engaging, if sentimental, Mary Pickford showcase

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.

Reviewed by raskimono 8 / 10

Nice melodrama with stunning performance by Pickford

Mary Pickford, that gamine of silent movie cinema is showcased in what might have been her best performance. Being nary a fan of her performance, I think this high praise indeed. I believe if there were the Academy Awards in those early days of cinema, she clearly would have worn it. She did win one in 1929 for Coquette which is just terrible, at least from a modern perspective- static camera movements and broadway like staging undermine any goodwill. Like much of today's actresses who win Oscars eg Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman, the make up artist deserves high praise. The dsiparity between Unity and Stella is so convincing that when using technology of the time, they are placed in the same shot together, it is startling to wonder how it was acheived. The story is a classic melodrama about a man with a slightly crazy,evil and alcoholic wife who is bewedded to. There is Stella, a cripple whom the horrors of the world is shielded from and there is Unity, an orphan who has experienced the worst of the world and is almost bitten to death by the crazy wife, sending her to jail and making her husband in a case of pity and symphathy, Unity's guardian. Stella learns to walk after an operation and lives her sheltered enclosure to experience the hubris of life, learning about poverty, murders and other human evils. This shatters her. She and Unity are both in love with the kindly and gentle man. Lest to say for love to survive and conquer all, certain sacrifices are made. This is obviously a first rate production with grand art direction and gorgeous cinematography setting the mood but there are aspects that derail the movie including the inefficient rationalization of Stella's awakening. It is handled rather patly and not psycologically probing. I also found the the man character rather bland and boring as effused. The director's symbolism is rather thick especially the use of the cat and a dog to express the disharmony in the world. All in all, a dynamic performance by Pickford as Unity and a fairly rousing Victorian denouemwnt and resolution make it a see. It might help if you knew it was a huge box office smash surprising studio bosses.

Read more IMDb reviews

2 Comments

Be the first to leave a comment