Squire Phin (1921)

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Because of several highly publicized Hollywood scandals, former postmaster general Will H. Hayes had recently been appointed president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America. It was hoped that this Midwesterner would keep both film content -- and the behavior of film stars -- under control. The concern with content was certainly illustrated in this bland character study, based on a play by Holman F. Day -- a tame vehicle for Maclyn Arbuckle) which certainly could never offend a soul. Arbuckle plays Phineas Look, otherwise known as Squire Phin, who goes about solving everyone's problems in the small town where he lives. But Phin's brother, Hiram, was once known as the town bully, and when Hiram reappears after a ten-year absence, he discovers there is still no love lost for him. Hiram finds out that Judge Willard, the town treasurer, has been embezzling funds and he plans to run against him in the next election. This puts a crimp in Phin's romance with the judge's daughter, Sylvena. But, as always, Phin fixes things -- he gets the judge to return the money, and the judge finally allows Phin to marry Sylvena.