The False Faces

The False Faces is a 1919 American silent drama film directed by Irvin Willat from the novel by Louis Joseph Vance and starring Henry B. Walthall as Michael Lanyard, the "Lone Wolf," and Lon Chaney as the villain. A print of the film survives at George Eastman House.[1] Lon Chaney's energetic performance remains an early example of his celebrated work.

The False Faces
Publicity still for film with Henry B. Walthall at center
Directed byIrvin Willat
Produced byThomas H. Ince
Written byIrvin Willat (scenario)
Based onthe novel, The False Faces
by Louis Joseph Vance
StarringHenry B. Walthall
Lon Chaney
CinematographyPaul Eagler
Edwin W. Willat
Edited byW. Duncan Mansfield
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • February 16, 1919 (1919-02-16)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
English intertitles


During World War I, a professional thief known as The Lone Wolf (Henry B. Walthall) 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 dreaded Eckstrom (Lon Chaney), the man who was responsible for slaughtering the Lone Wolf's sister and her family.



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 as Michael Lanyard, as well as a 1954-55 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 roles such as the Hunchback of Notre Dame four years later and the Phantom of the Opera in 1925.


  1. "Progressive Silent Film: The False Faces". silentera. Retrieved June 27, 2008.
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