Secret of the Storm Country (1917)

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Norma Talmadge eschews her standard glamor-puss image to play Tess, the hoydenish daughter of an indigent "squatter." Promised in marriage to a villainous landowner, Tess falls in love with a man closer to her own age -- and her own station in life. The girl is forced to undergo the worst kinds of trials and tribulations before she can even aspire to a "happily ever after." Its title (and the heroine's name) obviously inspired by the Mary Pickford vehicle Tess of the Storm Country, Secret of the Storm Country took great pains to be original and even offbeat. And if contemporary reviews are any indication, Norma Talmadge delivered one of her finest and most realistic characterizations as the benighted Tess.