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Film: Stella Maris
June 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Wednesday, June 20. 7pm. Historical Society of Cheshire County. FREE
Silent Film: Stella Maris (1918)
Stella Maris was first screened in Keene, NH, at the Scenic Theatre on April 17th and 18th, 1918. One hundred years later, the Society is showing the film again followed by a discussion with film historian Larry Benaquist.
Starring Mary Pickford in one of her very best films, in which she plays two roles, and, without makeup, makes herself nearly unrecognizable as Unity Blake, the wealthy Stella Maris’ impoverished companion. The script was written by Frances Marion, based on a novel by William J. Locke. Marion, one of the most powerful women in Hollywood, wrote nearly two hundred scripts, including such classics as Dinner at Eight. The script seems to have been influenced by the World War which was then raging; America had entered the war the year before: by May 1918, more than a million American soldiers would have landed in Europe. Stella Maris was directed by Marshall Neilan, who directed five films which starred Pickford, and which were scripted by Marion.
Stella is a rich young woman, paralyzed her entire life, cared for by a wealthy family who attempt to shield her from the evils of the world. By contrast, Unity is a poor orphan, seeking a mother figure, who is adopted by a woman who treats her savagely. Both Stella and Unity fall in love with the same man. This is a finely nuanced film which uses the framework of melodrama to display some unforgettable acting. Many consider this film Mary Pickford’s best work.