Prodigal Judge (1922)

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Vitagraph may have erroneously claimed that this comedy-drama was "the greatest picture of the year," but it did have a certain charm (even if the plot was rather hard to follow), and Macklyn Arbuckle does justice to his role as Judge Slocum Price. It takes place in the pre-Civil War era South. Judge Price has a fondness for liquor which really goes into overdrive after his wife runs away with another man and she takes their boy with her. He then spends his time wandering around the country with his teetotaling pal, Solomon Mahaffy (fine character actor Ernest Torrance). Years pass and the judge learns that his wife has died and her lover (Arthur Carew) is trying to get his hands on her son's inheritance. The judge takes the boy in and works on convincing him that he is his real father. Meanwhile, a neighbor girl, Betty Malroy (Jean Paige) is being manhandled by her guardian -- the same man who ran off with the judge's wife -- and the judge helps save her from her troubles. This picture was based on the book by Vaughan Kester.

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Keywords

abandonment, alcoholism, judge