Though British actor Lionel Atwill had a long career in theater and in silent movies, it wasn't until the talkies that he came into his own as one of cinema's most menacing villains.
Beginning Thursday and continuing through July 25, the American Cinematheque is celebrating the career of the actor with its "Lionel Atwill Lurks Here" series.
The malevolent fun begins Thursday at the Egyptian with a triple bill of Atwill delights -- 1939's "Son of Frankenstein," the third film in the "Frankenstein" franchise which inspired Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein." Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone and Bela Lugosi star, but it's Atwill's one-armed police chief -- he had lost his limb sadly after a close encounter with the monster -- who steals the movie.
That's followed by 1943's "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man" and 1941's "Man Made Monster."
The series moves to the Aero on July 14 for two Marlene Dietrich melodramas, 1935's "The Devil Is a Woman," in which he plays a rare sympathetic role, and 1933's "The Song of Songs," which casts Atwill as a lecherous baron obsessed with Dietrich.