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Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Lionel Atwill

LIONEL ATWILL (1885-1946), born Lionel Alfred William Atwill, was one of the great film villains of the 1930s and 1940s. He led a tumultuous private life and after his death his ashes were never claimed and rest in vaultage at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory.

Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)Haven't you seen Mystery Of The Wax Museum (1933)?
Atwill starred as the owner of a Wax Museum in contemporary New York City. A mysterious figure stalks the streets and bodies vanish from the morgue. Fay Wray is involved in the best unmasking scene since Phantom Of The Opera. Atwill is excellent. This film was shot in the early two-color Technicolor process. Later it was remade as House Of Wax.

Watch this and then see these other four films.

Dr. X (1932) Atwill leads a scientific research team being stalked by a mysterious killer. Fay Wray is his daughter. Again, it's in the early Technicolor.
Captain Blood (1935) Atwill is Governor Bishop of Jamaica, and sworn foe of Captain Peter Blood (Errol Flynn). His daughter is Olivia De Havilland. (One can only assume his film daughters get their looks from their mothers.) He delivers a robust and blustery performance as a man thwarted from every side.
The High Command (1936) Atwill stars in a rare sympathetic role as a commander of a British outpost with a dark secret in his past. It is also a rare leading role.
Son Of Frankenstein (1939) Atwill is splendid as the village police inspector suspicious of Basil Rathbone's Dr. Frankenstein. He is notable in the darts scene spoofed by Gene Wilder and Kenneth Mars in Young Frankenstein. The scene in which Atwill confronts the Monster is chilling.

*Contributed by: "Eric Jamborsky" Date: Mon, Oct 3 2005 / 14:55:24 PST