The Goddess (1915)

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The largest of the early film companies, Vitagraph, joined the burgeoning serial craze in 1915 with this desert island romance starring Anita Stewart and Earle Williams. Stewart played Celestia, a white girl reared on a tropical island in the belief that she is a goddess. The handsome Williams was Tommy Barclay, with whom Celestia travels around spreading her gospel of love and harmony. The spiritual couple is opposed by an evil hypnotist, Professor Stilleter (Paul Scardon), who finally gets his just deserts in the serial's 15th and final chapter. Pure but popular hokum, The Goddess was co-written by Gouverneur Morris, a then highly respected novelist, and featured the famous Vitagraph's stock company, including "Mother" Mary Maurice, brooding Danish villain Anders Randolf, comic actor Ned Finley, and future serial star Mary Anderson. Leading lady Anita Stewart later signed with rising producer Louis B. Mayer, whose first star she was to become.