Three Faces East
Three Faces East 1930.jpg
theatrical releaseposter
Directed byRoy Del Ruth
Written byArthur Caesar
Oliver H. P. Garrett
Based onThree Faces East (play)
by Anthony Paul Kelly
Produced byDaryl Zanuck
StarringConstance Bennett
CinematographyBarney McGill
Edited byWilliam Holmes
Music byPaul Lamkoff
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Release date
  • July 26, 1930 (1930-07-26) (US premiere)
Running time
71 minutes
CountryUnited States

Three Faces East is a 1930 American Pre-Code film directed by Roy Del Ruth and starring Constance Bennett and Erich von Stroheim. Produced by Daryl Zanuck and released by Warner Brothers it is based on a 1918 Broadway play about World War I spies, Three Faces East, by Anthony Paul Kelly.[1] It was filmed as a silent in 1926.[2] A later remake in 1940 starred Boris Karloff and Margaret Lindsay was titled British Intelligence.


During World War I, a soldier named Valdar (Erich von Stroheim) receives a medal for bravery from the King of Belgium. Elsewhere, behind German lines, a captured British nurse (Constance Bennett) is revealed to be a German spy. She is given an assignment to infiltrate the household of Sir Winston Chamberlain, the British First Lord of the Admiralty (William Holden—no relation to the younger American film star), and steal secrets for her superior, a German spy named Blecher. Under the name Frances Hawtree, the agent, using the code term "three faces east," discovers that Valdar, who has used his award to place himself as Chamberlain's head butler, is actually her contact, a German spy named Schiller. Both Hawtree and Valdar come under suspicion from Chamberlain's associates, and both Valdar and Chamberlain's son fall in love with her. Eventually, it is revealed that Hawtree is actually a British double-agent working to find and expose the master spy Blecher, the true identity of Schiller/Valdar. When Blecher attempts to send secret information to his superiors, Hawtree shoots him. As the film ends, she is sent to Sweden on a new intelligence mission.



The film survived complete. It was transferred into a 16mm film by Associated Artists Productions in 1956-1958 and shown on television. A 16mm copy is housed at the Wisconsin Center for Film & Theater Research.[3] Another print exists at the Library of Congress.[4]


  1. ^ Three Faces East as produced on Broadway at the Cohan and Harris Theatre and the Longacre Theatre respectively, beginning August 13, 1918, 335 performances,; accessed August 10, 2015.
  2. ^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1921-30 by The American Film Institute, copyright 1971
  3. ^ Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research; Feature Film Database:Three Faces East..Retrieved July 19, 2018
  4. ^ Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress, by The American film Institute, c. 1978