Face in the Dark (1918)

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For a man whose reputation currently rests on his humorous stories of "Old Kentucky," Irvin S. Cobb wrote a great many straight adventure and mystery tales, with nary a chuckle in the carload. This cinemadaptation of Cobb's A Face in the Dark starred Mae Marsh as the spunky daughter of a retired U.S. Secret Service agent (Alec B. Francis). Much to the girl's dismay, it seems as if her father has "turned crooked," falling in with a gang of safecrackers. Having inherited her dad's powers of deduction, Marsh regretfully traces a series of bank heists to her old man, which at least has the salutary side effect of removing suspicion from the girl's bank-clerk sweetheart. But there's something fishy about the whole affair, and the heroine continues her investigation. It turns out that her father isn't a crook at all but has been engaged in a top-secret mission to expose a nest of German spies. Thus was producer Samuel Goldwyn able to wedge a WWI angle in an otherwise traditional mystery yarn.