The Dream Girl (1916)

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Though many of Cecil B. DeMille's earliest films were based on plays and novels, The Dream Girl was a complete original, written directly for the screen by longtime DeMille associate (and reputed lover) Jeannie Macpherson. Still in her gamine period, superstar-to-be Mae Murray stars as Meg Dugan, a child of the San Francisco waterfront. To escape her shabby surroundings, Meg creates her own fantasy world, complete with a "Sir Galahad" galloping to her rescue. But the grim realities of life come crashing down upon Meg thanks to her reprobate father Jim Dugan (Theodore Roberts), who at present is trying to pass off his confederate "English Hal" (Charles West) as a nobleman, the better to win the heart -- and the bank account -- of susceptible young heiress Alice Merton (Mary Mersch). As luck would have it, Meg has been appointed the temporary ward of Alice's father Benjamin Merton (James Neill). Out of love for Alice's handsome brother Tom (Earl Foxe), Meg exposes her father's scheme, then resignedly returns to the waterfront. But Tom proves to be Meg's long-awaited Sir Galahad when he storms down to the docks and demands that she become his bride.