|Directed by||Marshall Neilan|
|Screenplay by||Frances Marion|
|Based on||Stella Maris|
by William John Locke
Mary Pickford Film Corporation
|Distributed by||Famous Players-Lasky/Artcraft|
Stella Maris is a 1918 American silent drama film directed by Marshall Neilan, written by Frances Marion and based on William John Locke's 1913 novel of the same name. The film stars Mary Pickford in dual roles as the title character and an orphan servant.
Stella Maris (Mary Pickford) was born paralyzed and is unable to walk. Her wealthy guardians try to prevent her from being exposed to all the bad that is happening in the world. She is not allowed to leave her room in a London mansion and is bound to her bed. Her door even has a sign on it which says: "All unhappiness and world wisdom leave outside. Those without smiles need not enter." Stella has no idea a war is going on in the world and that there are poor and hungry people.
John Risca (Conway Tearle) is a well-known journalist and a friend of the family. He has been unhappily married to Louise for six years now and frequently visits Stella. John wants Stella to think he is perfect and lies about being unmarried. Louise, meanwhile, wants a servant in her house and hires orphan Unity Blake (also Mary Pickford). Unity is uneducated and has been deprived and mistreated for her entire life. This resulted in her being afraid of everyone.
One night, a drunk Louise orders Unity to get some groceries. Unity does what she is told and on her way back, the food is stolen by kids. She returns to the home only to be beaten by an outraged Louise. Unity is severely hurt and Louise gets arrested. It is announced she will have to serve three years in prison. John is kinder to Unity and adopts her. Unity is very grateful and falls in love with him. John himself is only interested in Stella. John wishes Unity to be raised at the Blount's residence, but they don't want her. They prevent her from meeting Stella, fearing Stella will notice there are suffering people in the world. They finally convince John to raise Unity at Aunt Gladys' house.
In order to make John fall in love with her, Unity starts to educate herself with Aunt Gladys' help. For the first time, Unity finally feels like she belongs in a loving home and Aunt Gladys is the closest she has to having a caring mother. Meanwhile, Stella gets an operation and is able to walk after three years. She meets John and they fall in love. One day she decides to give John a surprise visit. Louise, who has just been released from jail, opens the door and tells Stella the truth about her marriage. Stella is heartbroken upon learning that he lied to her about his marriage. Feeling betrayed, she tells John to leave her alone and refuses to talk to her family upon seeing how much sadness and pain are in the world.
Meanwhile, Unity uses one of John's suits and pretends he is asking her to marry him. When he comes home heartbroken over losing Stella, she tries to busy herself with work. As she hears Aunt Gladys' concerns about John's inability to be free to love Stella while Louise lives, Unity realizes she and John can never be a couple. At her relatives' home, Stella reconciles with them and comes to the realization that while there will be sadness and pain in the world, there are also joy and happiness that follows it.
At Aunt Gladys' home, Unity secretly grabs a gun from a gun collection and confronts Louise for the pain she inflicted on Stella and John. When she makes her intentions clear, she realizes her mistake too late upon noticing the gun in Unity's coat pocket. She settles the score by killing Louise in her bed. The next day, John arrives at Aunt Gladys' home and she informs him about Unity's death, along with the police being here. He is given a letter from Unity, informing him that she is grateful for his kindness and that he should be with Stella. John is heartbroken as the police tells him about her troubled history being well known even to them and thus, it was easy to figure out that revenge was her motive in murdering Louise. Aunt Gladys convinces Stella's wealthy relatives to give John another chance and not think badly about Unity for she helped free him from his abusive wife. John is reunited with Stella and they marry.
- Mary Pickford as Miss Stella Maris / Unity Blake
- Ida Waterman as Lady Eleanor Blount, aka Aunt Julia
- Herbert Standing as Sir Oliver Blount
- Conway Tearle as John Risca
- Marcia Manon as Louise Risca
- Josephine Crowell as Aunt Gladys Linden
- Teddy the Dog as The Mack Sennett Dog (uncredited)
- Lou Conley as The Nurse (uncredited)
- Gustav von Seyffertitz as The Surgeon (uncredited)
- Review of "Stella Maris" on Alternative Film Guide
- "Official Cut-Outs by the Chicago Board of Censors". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 6 (6): 31. February 2, 1918.
- Stella Maris (1918) at SilentEra
- 2000 Milestone Collection DVD edition
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stella Maris (1918 film).|