FALSE FACES is a silent film based on the second of Louis Joseph Vance’s Lone Wolf novels. Michael Lanyard is cited by some as Charteris’ inspiration for The Saint. Lanyard was a gentleman thief who helped people in need, while at the same time was not above stealing jewelry from the rich. Several novels and films had appeared before MEET THE TIGER, the first Simon Templar adventure.
The film starred Henry B. Walthall(center in the photo above left) as Michael Lanyard and Lon Chaney(below right) as his nemesis, Karl Eckstrom, a German agent that was responsible for his family’s death. Lanyard works for the Allied forces and is charged with finding a cylinder of information vital to the war effort. Eckstrom and his forces are assigned to stop him.
The trail leads him to a ship crossing the Atlantic to America, where several murders muddy the waters before a German U-boat sinks the ship. Lanyard is among the survivors, as is Eckstrom, and in the States they continue their battles. with Lanyard having to discover a traitor and locate that cylinder.
I’ve not seen a lot of silent films, but it wasn’t hard to follow with plenty of words between scenes. Having read the novel may have helped, although there were changes in the story line. As usual with film.