The False Faces

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The False Faces
The False Faces (1919) 1.jpg
Publicity still for film with Henry B. Walthall at center
Directed by Irvin Willat
Produced by Thomas H. Ince
Written by Louis Joseph Vance
Irvin Willat
Starring Henry B. Walthall
Lon Chaney
Cinematography Paul Eagler
Edwin W. Willat
Edited by W. Duncan Mansfield
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • February 16, 1919 (1919-02-16)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States
Language Silent
English intertitles
Henry B. Walthall and Lon Chaney (far right) in a 1919 magazine ad

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.


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 2008-06-27. 

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