Photo courtesy of Allison Shealy

(Chaney not in picture)


Produced by Thomas H. Ince Corp.; Released 2/16/19 by Paramount-Artcraft; Producer: Thomas H. Ince; Director: Irvin V. Willat; Screenplay: Irvin V. Willat, from the novel The False Faces; Further Adventures from the History of the Lone Wolf by Louis Joseph Vance; Cinematography: Edwin W. Willat and Paul Eagler; 7 reels; Print Source: George Eastman House, Turner Entertainment

CAST: Henry B. Walthall (Michael Lanyard, The Lone Wolf), Mary Anderson (Cecelia Brooke), Lon Chaney (Karl Eckstrom), Milton Ross (Ralph Crane), Thornton Edwards (Lieut. Thackeray), William Bowman (Captain Osborne), Garry McGarry (Submarine Lieutenant), Ernest Pasque (Blensop)

SYNOPSIS: Michael Lanyard, known among the Paris underworld as "Lone Wolf," makes his way across No Man's Land during a horrifying battle. He reaches the British trenches and is taken before an officer who turns out to be a former detective of Scotland Yard. Lanyard is enlisted in the Allied Secret Service, where he is given the job of tracking down German spies. He particularly wants to catch Karl Eckstrom, a beast who murdered his child and left his wife to die of starvation during the German march through northern France. Lanyard follows Eckstrom to America, booking passage on the same ship. Also on board is Cecelia Brooke, who is carrying a cylinder containing secrets of vital importance to the Allies. She entrusts the cylinder to Lanyard, but Eckstrom learns of this and attacks him. Lanyard is overpowered and thrown overboard just as a German submarine attacks the ship. Lanyard is taken aboard the submarine and convinces the Captain that he is a German spy. When the sub reaches a secret base at Martha's Vineyard, Lanyard escapes and makes his way to New York. There he finds that Eckstrom has fooled the British Secret Service into thinking that he is a British agent. He has obtained Cecelia's papers and is negotiating their sale to a spy within the British government. Lanyard breaks into Eckstrom's safe to recover the cylinder, but cannot locate it. Eckstrom catches him, but through a ruse, Lanyard tricks Eckstrom's own men into shooting him. Lanyard locates the cylinder on the spy in the Secret Service and returns it to Cecelia.

Whereas other melodramas make some effort to create the temporary illusion of possibility and consistency, THE FALSE FACES soars through its own high course of fights and feats and thrills, regardless of all laws, human and divine. Thomas H. Ince, who produced the photoplay, and Irvin V. Willatt, who directed it, seem to have set out to make No Man's Land look tame compared to the New York battlefront, and they have done so." ---The New York Times

"There are several reasons why this offering should please picturegoers, especially those who enjoy the kind that are strong and virile. To begin with, it is full of high speed action; again, due to the logical development of the story, it keeps one in continual suspense; further, it contains no gruesome or repulsive situations." ---Motion Picture News

"With all this masterly handling of incident there is lacking at moments that dramatic quality which leads up to a crisis. This is compensated for in a measure by the fine impersonation of Walthall, whose native ability and admirable training enable him to make effective use of his opportunities. He is capably supported by Lon Chaney as "Eckstrom" and practically all the men in the cast, but Mary Anderson seldom rises to the gravity of her role." ---Moving Picture World

NOTES: The working title of the film was THE LONE WOLF.

Also, check out this sheet music on my Memorabilia Page.

© 2000,2013 Jon C. Mirsalis

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