Heart of a Painted Woman (1915)

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Even though she claimed in later years that she never wanted to be a movie star, Russian actress Olga Petrova did pretty well for herself in that capacity. Petrova's third American film was Heart of a Painted Woman, which was probably every bit as luridly exaggerated as its title. Seduced and betrayed by her artist lover, model Martha Redmond (Petrova) decides that she has no recourse but to become a prostitute. Even so, she is quite choosy when it comes to men, thus it comes as quite a surprise to a young millionaire named Barrett when Martha spurns his advances. Intrigued by the heroine, Barrett gives her a no-strings-attached $100,000 check, telling her to spend it in whatever manner she chooses. One year later, we learn that Martha has used the money to establish an orphan asylum. Although she is now "respectable," Martha still refuses to become romantically involved with Barrett, though he never gives up pursuing her. Meanwhile, the artist who "ruined" Martha is killed in a fight with his father-in-law. Thanks to an incredible chain of circumstantial evidence, Barrett comes to believe that he killed the artist while in a drunken stupor. Martha doesn't buy this, and she sets about to extract a confession from the father-in-law. Only at this juncture does Martha decide to relax her hard-hearted attitude towards men and to accept Barrett as a worthy husband.