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LiamCasey

My Top Ten Lionel Atwill Films

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I feel like I'm encroaching on Det. Jim McLeod's territory here, but TCM's airing of two Lionel Atwill movies this week as part of their Michael Curtiz spotlight put me in the mood to determine my ten favorite of his movies in order of preference. Plus it it gave me something to do during commercials while watching Dinosaurus! (1960):

Captain Blood (1935)
Son of Frankenstein (1939)
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)
Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)
Doctor X (1932)
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1942)
The Vampire Bat (1933)
Mark of the Vampire (1935)
Murders in the Zoo (1933)
Man-Made Monster (1941)

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11 hours ago, LiamCasey said:

I feel like I'm encroaching on Det. Jim McLeod's territory here

No, not at all, I am glad to see someone else discussing great actors who appeared in horror films.

I am having a hard time coming up with ten films for Atwill where he had a good role in a good film, I probably have to see more of them. But there are a few that stand out for me:

Son Of Frankenstein- without a doubt my favorite of his films. He is great as the one armed police inspector. His speech about his childhood encounter with the Monster is gripping. Also the dart game and battle of wills with Basil Rathbone is another highlight.

Mystery Of The Wax Museum-although I prefer the 1953 remake House Of Wax, this is a good chiller and Atwill gives a fine performance as the mad artist.

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon-it's been awhile since I have seen this, but I was happy to see Rathbone's Holmes opposite Atwill's Moriarty. Near the end I recall a scene where Moriarty seems to have the better of Holmes, but Holmes refuses to admit it. Atwill has a great line where he says something like "Still the same conceited, swaggering Holmes, eh?" 

And although I don't think The Ghost Of Frankenstein is a very good film, Atwill has a great moment in it. At the end he turns the tables on Cedric Hardwicke's Dr Frankenstein and has this evil grin on his face, no one else could smile as obscenely than Atwill!

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48 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

And although I don't think The Ghost Of Frankenstein is a very good film, Atwill has a great moment in it. At the end he turns the tables on Cedric Hardwicke's Dr Frankenstein and has this evil grin on his face, no one else could smile as obscenely than Atwill!

The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) would have been the 11th movie on my list. It is kind of interesting how one's ranking of a movie depends upon the criteria being used. From a Lionel Atwill POV, The Ghost of Frankenstein ranks higher for me than Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944) or House of Dracula (1945). But from a Lon Chaney, Jr. POV, it is quite the opposite.

There are a number of Lionel Atwill movies (primarily non-horror movies) that I've yet to see. The ones that I'm most interested in catching are: Stamboul Quest (1934) w/ Myrna Loy, The Murder Man (1935) w/ Spencer Tracy, Last Train From Madrid (1937), The Three Musketeers (1939) and To Be or Not to Be (1942) w/ Jack Benny and Carole Lombard. For some reason, I've yet to watch the latter movie in its entirety from start to finish but, from what I've seen of it, I'm fairly confident it would have been somewhere on my list of ten favorites.

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And on May 17, as part of the Marlene Dietrich festival, TCM is showing The Devil Is a Woman, Dietrich's favorite of her films. Lionel Atwill co-stars as the man obsessed. The film is based on the same story -- The Woman and the Puppet -- that later inspired Bunuel's That Obscure Object of Desire, in which Fernando Rey played the Atwill role. There are other film versions of the story as well.

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