The False Faces

War · 
Drama · 

Release Date: February 15, 1919

Status: Released

Running time: 1h 16m


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During World War I, a professional thief known as The Lone Wolf is assigned to steal a cylinder with important information from behind the German lines and bring it to Allied intelligence headquarters. However, German agents set out to stop him, headed by the man who was responsible for the death of the thief's sister.

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This Movie Is About.

silent film
lone wolf


The False Faces is a 1919 American silent action film written and directed by Irvin Willat, based on the novel by Louis Joseph Vance, and starring Henry B. Walthall as Michael Lanyard, the "Lone Wolf," and Lon Chaney as Karl Ekstrom, the villain. A complete print of the film survives at the George Eastman House and at the Turner Film Library. It was thought to be lost for years, but was later found and somewhat restored. Director Willat was originally to have shared co-directing chores with Jerome Storm, but when the film's production was moved back from August to October, he ended up being the sole director.Lon Chaney's energetic performance, especially in the film's furious finale, remains an early example of his celebrated work. Chaney is shown applying a fake beard to his face in one scene, the only time he was ever photographed in a film applying his makeup. Chaney also designed and applied actress Jane Daly's makeup to give her the appearance of a "sea-corpse" as she appears to the haunted U-boat captain in the film. A cover reproduction of the film's sheet music exists.Based on a series of novels begun in 1914 by Louis Joseph Vance, the Lone Wolf character remained a part of popular culture for generations, with movies ranging from 1917 to 1949 starring Jack Holt, Melvyn Douglas, Warren William, Gerald Mohr (who had also played the part in a radio series) and others in the Michael Lanyard role, as well as a 1954-55 "Lone Wolf" television series with Louis Hayward delineating his fictional exploits. Henry B. Walthall had starred in D. W. Griffith's seminal The Birth of a Nation four years earlier, while Lon Chaney went on to become one of the world's most enduring cultural icons with performances in films such as the Hunchback of Notre Dame four years later and the Phantom of the Opera in 1925.
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