Miss Lulu Bett (1921)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama  |   Countries - USA  |  
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For a silent screen star, Lois Wilson showed a truly charming lack of ego -- how many other beauty contest winners would be happy playing an ugly duckling like this film's title character? But Wilson did and she felt this was the best film of her career. She was aided by the capable direction of William C. DeMille -- Cecil's older brother. William's films were generally more intimate and far less flashy than his brother's, but perhaps that's why the ones that have survived are still so watchable today. Lulu Bett, a plain spinster, is a drudge in the home of her sister, Ina Deacon (Mabel Van Buren) and her husband Dwight (ever-amusing character actor Theodore Roberts). One day Dwight's traveling salesman brother, Ninian (Clarence Burton), shows up and as a joke, he and Lulu Bett have a mock marriage. As a justice of the peace, Dwight declares the marriage legal, but it turns out that Ninian already has a wife. When Lulu finds this out, she goes back to her sister's. But finally she rebels against the bad treatment she receives from the Deacon family and marries the village school teacher (handsome Milton Sills). The story to this film had already been a successful novel and play, both written by Zona Gale. Crack scenarist Clara Beranger adapted it to the screen.