The talent line-up for this 6-reel melodrama was quite impressive by 1914 standards: It was produced and directed by its star, Hobart Bosworth, scripted by actress-director Lois Weber, and adapted from a novel by Jack London. Based on London's own desperate (and, sadly, losing) battle against alcoholism, the film details the unhappy life and times of a gentleman identified only as Jack. Played at various junctures of his life by Matty Roubert, Antrim Short and Elmer Clifton, Jack is shown as a slave of Demon Rum from childhood onward. Apparently predestined for a life of drunken dissolution, Jack is ultimately saved through the love of a good woman (played by Viola Barry). Filmed in and around San Francisco, John Barleycorn was as potent an argument against booze as The Lost Weekend or The Days of Wine and Roses.
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