starring Harry Turner, Bobby Kelso and Florence Vidor
November, 1920

The family will indorse "The Jack-Knife Man." Mother and the girls will like it because it is homely and true and sympathetic. Father and the boys will approve because it is shot through with bits of adventure on a Mississippi houseboat. There is wholesome comedy and a strain of sentiment that is not permitted to become cheap or maudlin, and what the sophisticated fanatic may dismiss as hokum is honest hokum. In addition to these commanding virtues, it presents King Vidor at his atmospheric best in his treatment of Ellis Parker Butler's story. The scenes are effective, the landscapes beautiful, the rain a little thick but very real, and the river shots true enough to suggest that they were taken along the shores of the old Father of Waters itself. The story suggests all the other stories of gentle old men brought into contact with the love of a child. Peter Lane, something better than a tramp, considerably less than a gentleman, falls heir to "Buddy," the four year-old offspring of a careless lady who dies while she is escaping from a life of which she has grown weary. The little fellow snuggles down close to the old gentleman's heart, and when the authorities, represented by an avaricious agent of a home-finding society, attempts to take him away, Peter demures and likewise decamps. To amuse the boy, he whittles toys for him out of soft pine sticks and is happy -- until "Booge" comes along. "Booge" is another ne'er-do-well with the true paternal spirit, and Peter's jealousy of Buddy's love for him is both pathetic and amusing. The ending sees all parties to the adventure happy, with Peter marrying a widow lady that he may have a real home for the boy, and "Booge" taking again to the open road. The cast is headed by Fred Turner, whose characterization of Peter is excellent; Harry Todd, an equally good Booge; and Bobby Kelso as the boy. Florence Vidor and Lillian Leighton lend capable support.

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