The saga of Alias Jimmy Valentine began with the O. Henry story "A Retrieved Reformation". This surprise-ending tale was adapted into a stage play by Paul Armstrong, which subsequently was adapted to film several times, first in 1915 with Robert Warwick in the leading role. The 1920 version of Alias Jimmy Valentine casts Bert Lytell as a supposedly reformed safecracker who takes a bank job under an assumed name, planning to eventually knock over the vault. The love of a good woman (Vola Vale) leads Lytell to reform for real, but he must convince the detective who'd sent him up years earlier that he is not the notorious Jimmy Valentine. Lytell almost succeeds in his ruse, but is forced to call upon his safecracking skills when the boss' little daughter is accidentally locked in the vault. The detective witnesses this rescue and recognizes Lytell's singular technique (he can only crack a safe if he's blindfolded), but out of compassion decides not to blow the whistle.
by Hal Erickson synopsis