Tess of the Storm Country


2h 1922

Brief Synopsis

In this silent film, a young girl ruins her reputation by claiming her sister's illegitimate baby as her own.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Release Date
Nov 12, 1922
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Mary Pickford Co.
Distribution Company
United Artists
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Tess of the Storm Country by Grace Miller White (New York, 1909) and her play of the same name (production undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h
Sound
Silent
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1
Film Length
9,639ft (10 reels)

Synopsis

Wealthy Elias Graves buys a house on a hill and tries to remove the squatters who live below. Harsh measures are urged on Graves by Dan Jordan, for whose murder Daddy Skinner is unjustly convicted. In leading the squatters' struggle for survival, Skinner's daughter, Tess, wins the sympathy and love of Graves's son, Frederick, but she loses him when Frederick discovers her with a child. Tess is reunited with her father and Frederick when Ben Letts is revealed as Jordan's murderer and when Frederick's sister, Teola, claims the baby as her own. Graves is reconciled with the squatters.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Release Date
Nov 12, 1922
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Mary Pickford Co.
Distribution Company
United Artists
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Tess of the Storm Country by Grace Miller White (New York, 1909) and her play of the same name (production undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h
Sound
Silent
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1
Film Length
9,639ft (10 reels)

Articles

Tess of the Storm Country (1922)


Tessibel Skinner (Mary Pickford) and her fishermen neighbors are the despised occupants of a patch of land also occupied by wealthy Elias Graves (David Torrence). Infuriated by the slovenly habits of the fisher folk who squat on the land and fish in its waters illegally, Graves vows to have them ejected from the land. With the help of his daughter Teola's fianc¿an Jordan (Robert Russell), who is desperate to win Graves's approval, Graves concocts a scheme to drive the fishermen out of business through a law that prohibits fishing with nets.

So begins the twisting, turning plot of John S. Robertson's exciting melodrama Tess of the Storm Country (1922), about a spunky girl who fights back. In the course of the narrative, Tess sees her father blackmailed for murder, falls in love with Graves' son Frederick (Lloyd Hughes) and pretends to be the illegitimate mother of another woman's baby.

Pickford liked Tess of the Storm Country so much she made it twice, first in 1914 with director Edwin S. Porter (who had revolutionized film with his 1903 production The Great Train Robbery) and Famous Players producer Adolph Zukor, who claimed the film saved him from bankruptcy.

"After the release of Tess I was Mr. Zukor's fair-haired child," recalled Pickford. The entire production budget for the 1914 film, including Pickford's salary, was ten thousand dollars. The 1914 version was enormously successful, and led to a consolidation of Zukor's power and a doubling of Pickford's salary. But the 1922 remake was considered superior to Porter's version which was hampered by a static camera, stagey scenes, lack of close-ups and a style that had not progressed much beyond his Great Train Robbery days.

Tess of the Storm Country was the only film Pickford ever remade, though it was attempted two more times, in 1932 with Janet Gaynor and then with Diane Baker in 1960. Playing Tess offered Pickford the chance to consolidate her unique identity in motion pictures as "the best woman who has ever lived, the woman who was known to more people and loved by more people than any other woman that has been in all history," said Adela Rogers St. Johns. As the spunky, defiant Tess, Pickford played a rare role in Hollywood -- a fearless heroine who rivals any male action character when it comes to bravery. Motion Picture Magazine described Tess as Pickford's most sympathetic role, noting that her performance "runs the gamut of her emotions, from childish appeal and spritely comedy to fine pathos and rugged dramatics."

Tess was adapted from a highly successful novel by Grace Miller White and was distinguished by the creative lensing of cinematographer Charles Rosher. An innovator in the field, Rosher worked with Pickford on some of her most successful silent productions. He even created the effect in Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921) in which Pickford played a dual role, and kissed herself in one scene. Rosher pioneered the use of stand-ins for stars and dummies in dangerous action scenes, and was one of the founders of the American Society of Cinematographers in 1918, serving as its first vice-president. Rosher's career was distinguished by numerous awards, including a shared cinematography Academy Award® for Sunrise (1927) and an Oscar® for The Yearling (1946).

Producer: Mary Pickford
Director: John S. Robertson
Screenplay: Elmer Harris, E. Lloyd Sheldon, Josephine Lovett; based on the novel by Grace Miller White
Cinematography: Charles Rosher
Art Direction: Frank Ormston
Cast: Mary Pickford (Tess Skinner), Madame De Bodamere (Mrs. Longman), Jean Hersholt (Ben Letts), Gloria Hope (Teola Graves), Danny Hoy (Ezra Longman), Lloyd Hughes (Frederick Graves).
BW-119m.

by Felicia Feaster
Tess Of The Storm Country (1922)

Tess of the Storm Country (1922)

Tessibel Skinner (Mary Pickford) and her fishermen neighbors are the despised occupants of a patch of land also occupied by wealthy Elias Graves (David Torrence). Infuriated by the slovenly habits of the fisher folk who squat on the land and fish in its waters illegally, Graves vows to have them ejected from the land. With the help of his daughter Teola's fianc¿an Jordan (Robert Russell), who is desperate to win Graves's approval, Graves concocts a scheme to drive the fishermen out of business through a law that prohibits fishing with nets. So begins the twisting, turning plot of John S. Robertson's exciting melodrama Tess of the Storm Country (1922), about a spunky girl who fights back. In the course of the narrative, Tess sees her father blackmailed for murder, falls in love with Graves' son Frederick (Lloyd Hughes) and pretends to be the illegitimate mother of another woman's baby. Pickford liked Tess of the Storm Country so much she made it twice, first in 1914 with director Edwin S. Porter (who had revolutionized film with his 1903 production The Great Train Robbery) and Famous Players producer Adolph Zukor, who claimed the film saved him from bankruptcy. "After the release of Tess I was Mr. Zukor's fair-haired child," recalled Pickford. The entire production budget for the 1914 film, including Pickford's salary, was ten thousand dollars. The 1914 version was enormously successful, and led to a consolidation of Zukor's power and a doubling of Pickford's salary. But the 1922 remake was considered superior to Porter's version which was hampered by a static camera, stagey scenes, lack of close-ups and a style that had not progressed much beyond his Great Train Robbery days. Tess of the Storm Country was the only film Pickford ever remade, though it was attempted two more times, in 1932 with Janet Gaynor and then with Diane Baker in 1960. Playing Tess offered Pickford the chance to consolidate her unique identity in motion pictures as "the best woman who has ever lived, the woman who was known to more people and loved by more people than any other woman that has been in all history," said Adela Rogers St. Johns. As the spunky, defiant Tess, Pickford played a rare role in Hollywood -- a fearless heroine who rivals any male action character when it comes to bravery. Motion Picture Magazine described Tess as Pickford's most sympathetic role, noting that her performance "runs the gamut of her emotions, from childish appeal and spritely comedy to fine pathos and rugged dramatics." Tess was adapted from a highly successful novel by Grace Miller White and was distinguished by the creative lensing of cinematographer Charles Rosher. An innovator in the field, Rosher worked with Pickford on some of her most successful silent productions. He even created the effect in Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921) in which Pickford played a dual role, and kissed herself in one scene. Rosher pioneered the use of stand-ins for stars and dummies in dangerous action scenes, and was one of the founders of the American Society of Cinematographers in 1918, serving as its first vice-president. Rosher's career was distinguished by numerous awards, including a shared cinematography Academy Award® for Sunrise (1927) and an Oscar® for The Yearling (1946). Producer: Mary Pickford Director: John S. Robertson Screenplay: Elmer Harris, E. Lloyd Sheldon, Josephine Lovett; based on the novel by Grace Miller White Cinematography: Charles Rosher Art Direction: Frank Ormston Cast: Mary Pickford (Tess Skinner), Madame De Bodamere (Mrs. Longman), Jean Hersholt (Ben Letts), Gloria Hope (Teola Graves), Danny Hoy (Ezra Longman), Lloyd Hughes (Frederick Graves). BW-119m. by Felicia Feaster

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Other films based on the same source include the 1914 Famous Players Film Co. production starring Mary Pickford and Frederick Graves and directed by Edwin Stanton Porter (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20) and a 1960 Twentieth Century-Fox release of an Everett Chambers production, starring Diane Baker and Jack Ging and directed by Paul Guilfoyle.