Tess of the Storm Country (November 12, 1922)
Released on November 12, 1922: A young girl proves that love is stronger than hatred and bigotry as a wealthy landowner tries to rid his neighborhood of the poor squatters nearby.
Produced by Mary Pickford
Directed by John S. Robertson
Written by Grace Miller White, E. Lloyd Sheldon, Josephine Lovett and Elmer Harris
The Actors: Mary Pickford (Tessibel 'Tess' Skinner), Lloyd Hughes (Frederick Graves), Gloria Hope (Teola Graves), David Torrence (Elias Graves), Forrest Robinson (Orn 'Daddy' Skinner), Jean Hersholt (Ben Letts), Milton Berle (squatter teen), Danny Hoy (Ezra Longman), Robert Russell (Dan Jordan), Gus Saville (old man Longman), Madame De Bodamere (Mrs. Longman), Jeanne Carpenter (unknown)
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Dare Something Worthy . . .
One of my mentors in my journey of passion and discovery always says, 'Dare something worthy' . . . it reminds me of the saying, 'Go big or go home' . . . these phrases helped keep me going during very scary times when the world around me thought I was crazy to bring so many movies to the world in such a simple, no tricks way, and I also thought I might just be crazy. When I see movies like this one I realize that there have been many before me and will be many after me that are willing to dare big, life changing ventures. In 1922 Toronto, Canada born Mary Pickford was 30 years old and convincingly playing the part of a 17 year old waif, Tess of the Storm Country. It had only been two years since women in the U.S. could vote, and during those days women were often considered 'property' of their men, not independent individuals. Young Mary Pickford dared to do what many men were afraid to do . . . she put all of her money and all of her resources and passion into the motion picture business, creating United Artists, which is still a vibrant motion picture company as I write this. This story is one that she financed and produced herself, and when she planned the project she didn't think small. In 1922 there were mostly very short movies, with the occasional block-buster that would approach an hour in length . . . but when Mary Pickford put her money where her heart was, the job became as large as it needed to be, regardless of what the wisdom of the day believed, and this movie turned out to be only a couple of minutes short of two hours. Sure, there is a murder with Tess' father framed and in prison for it . . . there is the real killer who will force himself onto Tess . . . there is the rich man who despises poor Tess and the group of squatters trying to avoid starvation . . . there is the baby born secretly to the daughter of the rich guy who mercilessly hates the squatters . . . there is the young son of the rich guy who feels badly for the squatters and falls in love with young Tess . . . and also Uncle Milty . . . one of the young teens in the squatters village is Milton Berle in one of his first motion picture appearances. Pop a very big bowl of white kernel popcorn with a stick or two of real melted butter drizzled over it and I promise you that you won't watch very long until you become totally engrossed in this amazing and timeless story of love, hate, wealth, poverty, murder, attempted suicide . . . emotion and drama from almost a century ago that is seldom filmed better even today.
Mary Pickford in 1922
Danny Hoy and Jean Hersholt
David Torrence and Lloyd Hughes
Forrest Robinson and Lloyd Hughes
Forrest Robinson plays his accordian
Gloria Hope and David Torrence
Gloria Hope and Robert Russell
Jean Hersholt and Mary Pickford
Jean Hersholt at the trial
Lloyd Hughes meets Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford at the jail
Mary Pickford in the mirror