Last night, I watched the 1918 version of Stella Maris. It's a good movie--an engaging melodrama, which pleased me after having watched Vincente Minnelli's disappointing The Clock, which was such a drab, predictable and commonplace waste of Minnelli and Judy Garland, that it had me wondering if I've simply seen too many Hollywood melodramas, and I was quickly seeing patterns fresher eyes might not.
But Stella Maris, having been made in 1918, and having been a very popular movie when it was released, handily defied the notion that it might not have anything of interest. I'm not entirely sure what it was--maybe it was simply Mary Pickford's astonishing duel performance as both the orphan Unity Blake and the titular Stella Maris. The studio boss was apparently unhappy with Pickford as Unity Blake, since she played the role with unattractive makeup and wardrobe. But aside from making Unity look like an entirely different person from Stella, I must say she comes off as a far more attractive creature, a fact that I can't think escaped the notice of the filmmakers.
Stella starts the film off as a cripple who's shielded from all unpleasantness in the world by her parents. So she's pretty and sweet and innocent . . . Meanwhile, Unity is taken from a harsh orphanage by a savage alcoholic woman who, in one rather brutal scene, severely beats Unity with a metal rod of some kind.
Anyway . . . I'm not feeling particularly talkative right now. I slept twelve hours yesterday--from 6am to 6pm. I would've done the same to-day if not for an effort of will. I think it must have to do with all the days of only four hours of sleep last week. It's for that reason that I'm hoping this week I can get a head start on Boschen and Nesuko. But I'm having difficulty deciding how the next chapter ought to go. I have a feeling it's something that'll come to me if I just sit and do nothing for a while, like a mollusc. I was watching a documentary on Greta Garbo last night, and one of the people who knew her said she once, in her years after retiring, compared herself to a mollusc. "You know what a mollusc does? They do nothing." I may be getting the quote slightly wrong . . .