The Jack-Knife Man

The Jack-Knife Man is a 1920 American silent drama film directed by King Vidor. Prints of the film survive in several film archives.[1]

The Jack-Knife Man
Newspaper advertisement
Directed byKing Vidor
Produced byKing Vidor
Written byWilliam Parker
Based onThe Jack-Knife Man
by Ellis Parker Butler
StarringF. A. Turner
CinematographyIra H. Morgan
King W. Vidor Productions
Distributed byFirst National Pictures
Release date
  • August 1, 1920 (1920-08-01)
Running time
60 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


As described in a film magazine,[2] Peter Lane (Turner), known as the "jack-knife man" because he spends his time whittling objects from wood, selling them to earn a living, loves and is loved by the Widow Potter (Leighton), desisting from matrimony for reasons known only to himself. When a hungry child, "Buddy," comes to his houseboat in quest of food, Peter asks and receives the aid of the Widow Potter. Returning to the boat he finds the boy's mother, dying, and he buries her and adopts the boy. A while later a tramp, "Booge," joins the queer family and refuses to be ousted. The three become inseparable companions. Then a busybody parson seizes the boy and insists on finding a home for him, placing him with the Widow Potter. Time passes and Peter becomes widely sought as a maker of wooden toys. After some developments of a startling nature, his financial position improves, and Peter marries the widow and all are happy.



  1. "The Jack-Knife Man". American Silent Feature Film Survival Database. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  2. "Reviews: The Jack-Knife Man". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 11 (8): 91. August 21, 1920.
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