Jim the Penman (1921 film)

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Jim the Penman
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Directed byKenneth Webb
Written byDorothy Farnum (scenario)
Based onJim the Penman (play)
by Charles Lawrence Young
Produced byWhitman Bennett
StarringLionel Barrymore
CinematographyTom L. Griffith
Harry Stradling
Distributed byAssociated First National (*later First National Pictures)
Release date
April 1921
Running time
6 reels (6,100 feet)
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

Jim the Penman is a 1921 American silent crime drama film produced by Whitman Bennett and distributed through Associated First National, later just First National Pictures. It is based on a well known play, Jim the Penman by Charles Lawrence Young about a forger in Victorian Britain. The film stars Lionel Barrymore and was directed by Kenneth Webb, the duo having worked on The Great Adventure previously. Jim the Penman is preserved though incomplete (reel 5 missing) at the Library of Congress.[1][2][3]


As described in a film publication summary,[4] James "Jim" Ralston (Barrymore) is a forger who is in love with Nina (Rankin). His first attempt at forgery is upon a dance program, and he forges Nina's name for the last waltz. He offers to save Nina's father from ruin by forging a check. He is discovered by the owner of the check, but instead of turning him in, Baron Hartfeld (Randolf) forces Jim to work for him for the next twenty years. Nina is engaged to Louis Percival (MacPherson), but through notes forged by Jim they become estranged. Nina ends up marrying James although she does not love him. As the twenty-year period closes, Jim's daughter Louise is about to marry the son of an English banker that Jim is about to ruin. Just in time Percival, whom Jim has previously ruined, and Nina discover the forgery that separated them. Jim, realizing that he is trapped, ends it all by sinking a yacht after locking himself and his companions in the cabin.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Progressive Silent Film List: Jim the Penman at silentera.com
  2. ^ Jim the Penman as produced on Broadway, IBdb.com
  3. ^ The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: Jim The Penman
  4. ^ "Jim the Penman: Barrymore's Latest Is Fairly Interesting Adaption of Stage Play". Film Daily. New York City: Wyd's Films and Film Folks, Inc. 15 (82): 6. March 27, 1921. Retrieved March 14, 2014.

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