The Incorrigible Dukane

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The Incorrigible Dukane
The Incorrigible Dukane poster.jpg
The Incorrigible Dukane theatrical poster
Directed by James Durkin
Produced by Daniel Frohman
Adolph Zukor
Based on The Incorrigible Dukane 
by George Clifford Shedd
Starring John Barrymore
Helen Weir
Cinematography William F. Wagner
Distributed by Famous Players-Lasky
Release dates
September 2, 1915
Running time
40 min.
Country United States
Language Silent film (English intertitles)

The Incorrigible Dukane is a 1915 silent dramedy and farce produced by Daniel Frohman and released by Famous Players-Lasky and starred John Barrymore in his fifth feature film. The film was directed by James Durkin. It was also a "photo-adaptation of the humorous story by George C. Shedd".[1] It is the earliest known surviving John Barrymore film.[2][3]


Through mistaken identity, a rich contractor's son is impressed into the labor force building his own father's dam at Silver Peak. When construction of a dam in Silver Peak, Colorado threatens their land, rancher Crofton (William MacDonald) and his daughter Enid (Helen Weir) confront New York contractor James Dukane, Sr. (William T. Carleton). Dukane sends his son James "Jimmy" Dukane, Jr. (John Barrymore) to manage construction and to deal with the dam's impact on the locals, hoping that the task will help his son mature. However, en route to the construction site, Jimmy is waylaid by a vagabond, and his clothing and identification are stolen. Dressed in the tramp's clothes, Jimmy finally meets with the construction foreman Corbetson (Stewart Baird), who skoffs at his claimed identity and instead puts him to work with a pick and shovel. During his labors, Jimmy learns that Corbetson has been using sub-par materials and embezzling monies from Dukane Sr, and that to hide his crime, Corbetson is planning to blow up the dam.


  • John Barrymore as James Dukane Jr.
  • William T. Carleton as James Dukane Sr.
  • Helen Weir as Enid Crofton
  • Stewart Baird as Corbetson
  • William MacDonald as Enid's father
  • William Meech as Lantry


The Day said that the film had "crystal clear photography [and] homey, every day realistic and intensely interesting settings" that made it a "superb production".[4] Joseph W. Garton said in his book, The film acting of John Barrymore, that the "direction and photography are adequate" and that the "well developed narrative line is unusually strong".[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The New Zealand Truth described it as a "thoroughly amusing filmatisation" and that it had "some exciting scenes during the industrial flare-up and plenty of dramatic and humorous happenings".[5] The Day called the film a "straightforward story told in a hearty boyish style with all the merriment of youth crowded into the four parts required to unfold the plot".[4] The Meriden Morning Record considered it to be a "lively and very enjoyable photoplay".[6] The Grey River Argus said that it was a "splendid drama" that, in terms of Barrymore, "gives us that legitimate actor in his happiest vein".[7] The Ohinemuri Gazette considered it to be a "picture that will be enjoyed by everyone".[8] The New York Review called the film the "best acrobatic show in town".[9]


  1. ^ "Majestic Theatre". The Hartford Courant. September 10, 1915. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Garton, Joseph W. (1980). The film acting of John Barrymore. Ayer Publishing. pp. 64–66. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  3. ^ John Barrymore, A Bio-bibliography by Martin E. Norden, c.1995 (earliest known surviving John Barrymore film)
  4. ^ a b "John Barrymore Again". The Day. September 17, 1915. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Continuous Pictures". New Zealand Truth (597). November 25, 1916. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  6. ^ "John Barrymore at Crystal". Meriden Morning Record. October 4, 1915. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Pollard's Pictures". Grey River Argus. April 27, 1917. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Two Star Programme". Ohinemuri Gazette. March 9, 1917. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  9. ^ Kobler, John (1977). Damned in paradise: the life of John Barrymore. Atheneum. p. 116. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 

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