The Lone Wolf (1917 film)

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The Lone Wolf
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Directed by Herbert Brenon
Produced byHerbert Brenon
Screenplay byGeorge Edwardes-Hall
Based on The Lone Wolf
by Louis Joseph Vance
Starring Bert Lytell
Hazel Dawn
Cinematography J. Roy Hunt
Edited byJames McKay
Herbert Brenon
Film Corporation
Distributed by Selznick Distributing Corporation
Release date
  • July 30, 1917 (1917-07-30)
CountryUnited States
Language Silent (English intertitles)

The Lone Wolf is a 1917 American silent drama film based on the 1914 novel The Lone Wolf by Louis Joseph Vance. [1] Starring Bert Lytell and Hazel Dawn, it was adapted for the screen by George Edwardes-Hall and produced and directed by Herbert Brenon. [2] No prints of the film are known to survive, so it is currently classified as lost. [3] [4]



Burke is a master crook who adopts a young boy (Marcel) after the boy saves him from being arrested by the police. Burke then teaches the youngster how to be a crook, and after he becomes a master in the profession, he changes his name and works as Michael Lanyard. The Paris police give him the moniker of "The Lone Wolf", due to his unique work in the profession. However, a gang of criminals (The Pack) has taken notice of his clever work, and tell him that unless he joins their gang, they will destroy him. Lucy is an undercover agent posing as a crook to infiltrate the gang, and goes on to help the Wolf escape the gang via a plane to England. The Pack follows them, but are killed in a plane crash. After the gang is killed, "The Wolf" swears he will go straight and he eventually marries Lucy. [2]



The character The Lone Wolf was a popular crime figure in theaters from 1917 to 1949, and was featured in at least twenty-four films. [2] [5] The character was initially developed by Vance in his 1914 novel of the same name. Selznick later purchased the rights from Vance for his 1917 film. Bert Lytell was the first actor to play the role, but Warren William who appeared in nine films featuring the character from 1939-1943, was arguably the most closely associated with the role. [6] In 1946 Gerald Mohr followed William as the Wolf for three films through 1948; additionally the Mutual Radio Network broadcast a radio series with Gerald Mohr as the title character, which aired for about six months. [7] In 1954, a television series was created based on Vance's character with Louis Hayward playing the title role. The series was in syndication for one season with 39 episodes produced. The show was also sometimes titled Streets of Danger. [7]

Reviews and reception

Joseph L. Kelley, film critic for Motion Picture News , gave The Lone Wolf high marks, describing it as "a most remarkable production, bristling with tense moments, strong action, human incidents and powerful drama". Kelley also praised Lytell's performance, stating that he "moves with the agility and pep of a Fairbanks", while Hazel Dawn is noted as being "average" in her performance. [8] A review in The New York Clipper , said the film "is a criterion in intense melodrama of the most advanced style. Its embellishments, refinements and polish is the last word in modern picture plays". [9] The Clipper also reported that the film had "gone over heavier than any big feature shown in New York within the last year", and that Selznick had received a big advance demand for the film throughout the country. [10]

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  1. Ken Wlaschin (May 13, 2009). Silent Mystery and Detective Movies: A Comprehensive Filmography. McFarland. p. 128. ISBN   978-0-7864-4350-5.
  2. 1 2 3 "The Lone Wolf". American Film Institute.
  3. "Progressive Silent Film List: The Lone Wolf". Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  4. The Library of Congress/FIAF American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog:The Lone Wolf
  5. Geoff Mayer (September 13, 2012). Historical Dictionary of Crime Films. Scarecrow Press. pp. 256–. ISBN   978-0-8108-7900-3.
  6. William I. Lengeman III (March 19, 2012). "The Lone Wolf: From Jewel Thief to Big Screen Crime Fighter". Criminal Element. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  7. 1 2 Ron Backer (May 24, 2010). Mystery Movie Series of 1940s Hollywood. McFarland. pp. 50–. ISBN   978-0-7864-5700-7.
  8. Joesph L. Kelley (July 14, 1917). "The Lone Wolf". Motion Picture News. p. 282.
  9. "The Lone Wolf". The New York Clipper. July 11, 1917.
  10. "'Lone Wolf' Beats Record". The New York Clipper. August 1, 1917.