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John Barleycorn

John Barleycorn(1914)

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The novel, serialized in The Saturday Evening Post between March 15, 1913 and May 3, 1913, and the film are based on incidents from Jack London's own life. According to items contained in the Jack London collection, exteriors for the film were shot in San Francisco and Oakland, CA areas. Additional information in the collection shows that the film opened in San Francisco on February 15, 1914 but was exhibited infrequently until July 1914. Ads in contemporary trade journals confirm that W. W. Hodkinson assumed the film's distribution at that point. Items in the London collection, supported by trade journal articles, relate that a group of liquor companies, worried about the effect that the film would have on upcoming referenda on prohibition, offered Bosworth, Inc. $25,000 to delay the film's release until after the elections in six particular states. Bosworth declined the offer, but the film's release was delayed by Pennsylvania censor J. Louis Breitinger, and controversy arose over Breitinger's professional connections to several breweries. Exhibitors showed the film in defiance of Breitinger, but censors eventually required cuts in the film in both Pennsylvania and Ohio, where scenes of children drinking alcohol were excised. One pre-release item in the London collection lists Helen Walker, Lincoln Helt (probably Elmo Lincoln, working under his real name, Lincolnhelt), Dick La Reno, and Rhea Haines as additional cast members. Most contemporary sources cite Bosworth as director, but J. Charles Haydon is listed in the 1918 MPSD as the director. One modern source claims that Lois Weber wrote the scenario, but this is probably an error.