Friday, April 12, 2024

Lionel Atwill: The Legitimate Stage, Classic and Not So Classic Horror, and "Sherlock Holmes"

His name was Lionel Alfred William Atwill, and he was born into a wealthy family, on March 1, 1885, at 2 Upton Villas, South Norwood, in Croydon, Surrey, London, England. His father was Alfred Atwill, who had married Ada Emily Dance, in June of 1884, in Bromley, Kent, England. 

Lionel enrolled in London's Independent "Mercers' School", founded under letters of patent issued by King Henry the VIII, dated April 18, 1542, to study architecture. By 1905, there had been a major change in the young man's direction and he first appeared at London's, historic Garrick Theatre.

Having established himself on the British stage, mainly in works by George Bernard Shaw, and Henrik Ibsen, Lionel Atwill, married British stage actress Phyllis Relph in 1913. In April, 1914, she starred in the British silent film drama, "Lights of London", but returned to the stage and didn't appear in any other movie until the role of a "Bystander", in a television production of George Bernard Shaw's, "Pygmalion". The couple had one child, John Arthur Atwill, born in 1914, but who would be killed in action, as pilot defending England, as a member of the "Royal Air Force", April 26, 1941. The following article is from the "Los Angeles Times", on April 29th: 

In 1914,  Lionel Atwill was appearing on the stage in Australia. The following year, the stage actor set  his sights on the American stage. On the voyage to the United States, the 30-years-old actor met British actress Lily Langtry. The two would co-star in a Broadway play entitled "Mrs. Thompson", that closed almost as soon as it opened. However, Lionel's chance meeting with the scandalous Langtry, was the means of introducing the British actor to the top of the American stage society.

On January 8, 1917, at the "Maxine Elliotts Theatre", 109 West 39th Street, New York City, a stage play based upon British authoress Marie Belloc Lowndes, 1913 novel, "The Lodger", that was suggested by the "White Chapel Murderer" known as "Jack the Ripper", opened. I could not discover the acting role portrayed by Lionel Atwill, but he was also the plays director and after its run at the "Maxine Elliotts Theatre", the play moved to the "Bandbox Theatre", on seventh street.

On October 11, 1917, at the "Playhouse Theatre", 137 West 48th Street, New York, Lionel Atwill portrayed "Courtney Urahart" in "Eve's Daughter". The play ran through November 1st, but skipping ahead. On March 4, 1918, Lionel Atwill's first motion picture appearance took place in the film version of "Eve's Daughter", the movie poster, below, shows Lionel Atwill recreating his Broadway role.

On the above poster, portraying the title character, "Irene Simpson-Bates", is actress and comedian, Billie Burke. Most of my readers would know her as "Glinda, the Good Witch" in 1939's, "The Wizard of Oz".

On March 11, 1917, the first English language version of Henrik Ibsen’s play “The Wild Duck”, premiered at the “Plymouth Theatre”, on Broadway. Lionel Atwill had 3rd billing portraying “Hajlmer Ekdal”. The play would run through April 1918.

Above, left to right, Lionel Atwill, Alla Nazimova, Amy Veness, and Harry Mestayer in "The Wild Duck". 

Atwill would follow "The Wild Duck", also in 1917, with Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler”, and in 1918, Ibsen's“A Doll’s House”. On September 2, 1918, the actor had second billing at the “39th Street Theater”, in "Another Man’s Shoes”, an original play written by Laura Hinkley and Mabel Ferris. My reader should note the ticket prices for the play as compared with today.

            PRICES-Evenings-$2, $1.50, $1, 75c, 50c, 25c. Matinee-$1, 75c, 50c, 25с.

Soldiers in Uniform at Half-Price. Reserved Seats Now on Sale.

Between June and July 1919, Lionel Atwill filmed his fourth-motion-picture, "The Eternal Mother", the silent drama wouldn't be released until April 18, 1920.

Lionel Atwill next was back on Broadway at the "Belasco Theatre", November 12, 1918 through April 1919, in a play entitled "Tiger! Tiger!". The website, "World War One Plays", at

Has the following about a controversy that play was causing pertaining to American morality:

Perhaps the popularity for Tiger! Tiger! should not only be attributed to the play itself and the glowing reviews for Frances Starr (1886-1973) in the leading role as Sally as well as praise for Lionel Atwill (1885-1946) a British actor who played Clive Couper, but some credit should also be given to the free publicity garnered by the controversy surrounding the play. The New York Times reported on December 7, 1918 that a magistrate would determine if the play’s content was immoral within the meaning of the law.  This issue was raised due to a police complaint that focused on some of the speeches in the opening scene.  A December 11th follow-up article reported the chief magistrate refused to entertain the complaint after he perused the manuscript and attended a performance. He claimed there were conspicuously objectionable points in the play, but offered that the title is misleading and should be changed.
Theatre Magazine later reported that David Belasco consented to modify some of the offending lines, but it is unclear whether it was done.  This tempest in a teapot helped make Tiger! Tiger! the controversial play that became a popular box office hit across the United States. 

The following year saw Lionel Atwill and Phyllis Relph officially divorced. In 1920, Atwill married Australian stage actress Elsie Gertrude Mackay. Her only motion picture was made in Yonkers, New York, "Nothing But the Truth", and it was released on January 6, 1920. 

At the end of the year, starting on December 23, 1920, the couple appeared at the "Belasco Theatre" in a translated to English, French play, "Deburau", below is a photo of the two dated March 22, 1921, as publicity for the play.

On March 23, 1923, the two appeared in "The Comedian".

As yet there was no motion picture career for the actor, but among his next plays were two of distinction. The first was a 1924 production of the British play, "The Outsider", at Broadways, "49th Street Theater", Lionel Atwill portrayed "Anton", and the actress dubbed "The First Lady of the Theatre", Katharine Cornell, portrayed "Lalage". 

Above, Lionel Atwill and Katharine Cornell.

On April 13, 1925, at Broadway's "GuildTheatre", 245 West 52nd Street, a production of British playwright, George Bernard Shaw's, "Caesar and Cleopatra" opened and wouldn't close until after the August 1st, performance. Lionel Atwill portrayed "Julius Caesar", and Helen Hayes, "The First Lady of the American Theatre", note the slight distinction between the two actresses, portrayed "Cleopatra".

In 1928, the actor divorced his second wife, Elsie Mackay, and made two movie short subjects. A third short subject was filmed in 1929, at which point Lionel Atwill stopped making films and turned back to the legitimate stage, believing that was still his primary carer. 

In 1930, Atwill married his third-wife, Henrietta Louise Cromwell. Who had just divorced her second husband, the newly appointed, "Chief of Staff for the Army", Major General Douglas MacArthur. 

However, in 1932, the actor returned to the film industry and became a full-time motion picture actor. From this point forward, I will speak to some of Lionel Atwill's remaining 67-on-screen-appearances.

In that year, Lionel Atwill moved into Horror Movie History by starring in the first "All-Technicolor" horror movie:

DR. X premiered in New York City on August 3, 1932

The motion picture screenplay was based upon a 1931 Broadway play of the same title, that had run from February 9, 1931 through April 1st, 
at the "Hudson Theatre", 139-141 West 44th Street. That play had been written by Allen C. Miller, and Howard Warren Comstock. "Dr. X", the play, was based upon another play from 1928 entitled, "Terror", also written by Comstock. Which should not to be confused with the same titled, same year play, by British mystery author Edgar Wallace. Who also wrote the original screenplay for 1933's, "King Kong".

The motion picture screenplay was by Robert Tasker, his second of only seventeen screenplays, and Earl Baldwin, whose 68-screenplays went from 1927 into 1961-television.

The motion picture was directed by Michael Curtiz, who started making movies in his native Hungary in 1912. Curtiz's 168-motion pictures, also include the third and seventh Lionel Atwill feature film I will mention. Along with 1938's, "The Adventures of Robin Hood", the 1941 classic version of American author Jack London's, "The Sea Wolf", and both 1942's, "Yankee Doodle Dandy", and "Casablanca".

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Dr. Jerry Xavier". He had just starred in 1932's, "The Silent Witness", and followed this motion picture with the next film I will mention.

Fay Wray portrayed "Joanne Xavier". She had recently been seen in co-producers and directors, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedack's, adventure film, 1929's, "The Four Feathers", and she would appear in their motion picture that directly followed "Dr. X", 1932's, "The Most Dangerous Game", co-starring Joel McCrea. This same duo would also cast Fay Wray as "Anne Darrow", in 1933's, "King Kong", My article is "FAY WRAY BEFORE 'KING KONG", and itcan be read at:

Lee Tracy portrayed "Lee Taylor". Tracy had great timing and could deliver comic lines deadpan and spoke in what was described as a "machine gun delivery", sometimes compared to Groucho Marx. His role as written, was more comic relief, than serious, and as a result, not of his own doing, the screenplay made Lee Tracy's "Lee Taylor", seem all wrong against the other two main roles of Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill. 

Lee Tracy's next film, 1933's, "Bombshell", put his delivery up against the equal delivery of that films star, Jean Harlow. 

Preston Foster portrayed "Dr. Wells". Foster was next seen as "John 'Killer' Mears - Cell 4", in the 1932,  prison crime film, "The Last Mile". He also co-starred with Paul Muni and Glenda Farrell in director Mervyn LeRoy's, 1932's, "I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang", in 1935, Preston Foster co-starred with Barbara Stanwyck in "Annie Oakley". 

John Wray portrayed "Dr. Haines". Wray's second motion picture was director Lewis Milestone's, 1930, anti-war classic version of author Eric Maria Remarque's, "All Quiet on the Western Front". He would follow this picture with 1932's, "I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang".

Above, Lionel Atwill and John Wray.

Harry Beresford portrayed "Dr. Duke". Character actor Beresford followed this motion picture with both director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1932's, "The Sign of the Cross", and 1934's, "Cleopatra". He also appeared in Greta Garbo's, 1935 version of Russian author Leo Tolstoy's, "Anna Karenina".

Arthur Edmund Carewe portrayed "Dr. Rowitz". Character actor Carewe's name may not be remembered, but his films should be. Carewe was "Svengali", in the 1923 version of author George L. Du Maurier's "Trilby", "Police Inspector Ledoux", in Lon Chaney's, 1925, "The Phantom of the Opera", and appeared in 1933's, "Mystery of the Wax Museum".


Note to My Reader:

"Dr. X" is a pre-1934-motion picture production code film. Which means that there really wasn't any restrictions on what could be seen, or used on-screen. As examples, the previously mentioned Cecil B. DeMille, 1932, biblical epic, "The Sign of the Cross", contained full frontal nudity of the female Christians being executed by the Romans. As does the original 1931 version, of detective author Dashiel Hammett's, "The Maltese Falcon". To save America's morality, in 1934, came the production code, and William H. Hayes and "The Hayes Censorship Office", that lasted into 1968. Even so, to the detriment of this screenplay, it plays like the Broadway play on static sets.

The Basic Screenplay:

The setting is 1932 New York City, over the past several months under the full-moon, a series of cannibalistic murders have taken place, and witness reports of a horribly "disfigured monster" as the killer.

The "Daily World Newspaper" reporter "Lee Taylor" has dubbed the killer, "The Moon Killer", and in past articles has attempted to connect him with "Dr. Jerry Xavier's Academy for Surgical Research". The police decide to ask "Xavier" for his medical opinion on the killer, but in reality, they believe "Dr. Xavier" is connected to the murders somehow. 

They produce a scalpel that is made exclusively for his academy and appears connected to the murders. "Xavier" convinces the police to let him attempt to capture the killer in his own way, and is given 48-hours. He explains the police accusations to his concerned daughter, "Joanne", and his planned experiment to clear the academy and himself.

"Xavier's Suspects are:

"Dr. Wells", who has one arm amputated, but studies cannibalism.
"Dr.  Haines", who displays a sexual perversion with voyeurism.
"Dr. Duke", described as a "grouchy paralytic".
"Dr. Rowitz", who is studying the psychological effects of the moon on people.

"Xavier" calls the four doctors to a meeting at his beach-side estate, and explains his experiment to clear them and the academy. Meanwhile, reporter "Lee Taylor" has followed and found his way into the beach house. While roaming around, "Taylor" meets "Joanne Xavier". Who's interested in him, until she associates his name to the stories about her father.

"Dr. Xavier" sets up the experiment with "Dr. Haines", "Dr. Duke", and "Dr. Rowitz" connected by electrical wires to a machine that monitors their heart rate. "Dr. Wells" is not connected, because the killer uses both of his hands to strangle his victims and "Wells" only has one.

"Xavier" has his maid, "Mamie", portrayed by Leia Bennett, and his butler "Otto", portrayed by George Rosener, recreate the last murder by "The Moon Killer" as a means of triggering responses from the other doctor's.

The experiment begins, suddenly a blackout takes place, and when the lights come back on, "Dr. Rowitz", whose monitor revealed him as the murderer, is found murdered with a scalpel pushed through his forehead into his brain. 

"Lee Taylor" is revealed from his hiding place and locked in a room by "Xavier".

Next, "Dr. Rowitz's" body is discovered partly eaten by someone in the beach-house, "Dr. Xavier" knows it couldn't have been the locked up "Taylor". That leaves "Dr. Haines" and "Dr. Duke", or could it be himself? The one thing is clear, it couldn't have been "Dr. Wells".

The following night will be a second experiment planned by "Dr. Jerry Xavier", but with himself being monitored. As a means of settling his own fear that somehow he becomes the killer. 

However, "Xavier" overlooked that there is a full moon, "Mamie" is too frightened to recreate another of the murders and will be replaced by "Joanne". In another part of the beach-side house, "Lee Taylor" almost has the lock opened on the room he's locked in. 

The three doctors are handcuffed into their chairs by "Dr. Wells" with the help of "Otto", who leaves to get into his costume. The doors are locked, but as the experiment begins, "Wells" slips out into a secret laboratory that even "Xavier" was unaware existed. There, using the synthetic flesh "Dr. Wells" had developed, he changes into "The Moon Killer" with the use of a living missing hand.

Next, "The Moon Killer" strangles "Otto" and takes his costume.

The three doctors look on, as this new experiment is designed to remind them of all the murders.


As the doctors look on in shock, the real "Moon Murderer" taunts them as he stands over the frightened "Joanne Xavier".

Suddenly, coming out of hiding from behind the series of wax figures appears "Lee Taylor", who grabs 
"Dr. Wells -the Moon Killer", and the two fight. "Lee" grabs a kerosene lamp and throws it at "Wells" and "The Moon Killer" is engulfed in fire. In agony, he turns and falls through a window onto the ocean shore below the beach-house.

The motion picture ends with "Lee Taylor" and "Joanne Xavier" on the beach below her father's house.

Of interest to my reader is that "Warner Brothers", seven-years later, decided to make a horror movie that seemed, from its title, to be sequel to 1932's, "Dr. X", it wasn't! 1939's, "The Return of Dr. X", is of interest for the contract actor that portrayed the title character of the brought back from the dead, "Dr. Maurice Xavier". My article is "HUMPHREY BOGART: Horror Movie Actor" to be read at:

Moving from one of the major studios, both Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray, found themselves in a horror movie that directly followed "Dr. X", but from "Poverty Row Studio/Distributor", "Majestic Pictures". For those of my readers unfamiliar with the term "Poverty Row". This referred to motion picture companies that rented one, or two offices in a multiunit building on Gower Street, in Hollywood. When they were not on location, like their office space, the studio rented a sound stage to make their films. Two major "Poverty Row Studios" were, "Mascot Pictures" and "American International Pictures".

THE VAMPIRE BAT released on January 10, 1933

The screenplay was from Edward T. Lowe, Jr., who had been writing for movie industry since 1912. He would write three other screenplays featuring Lionel Atwill for "Universal Pictures", watch for his name.

This motion picture was directed by Frank R. Strayer, he started film directing in 1925, and would direct televisions "The Stu Erwin Show" in 1952. Over his career, "B" director Strayer directed several motion pictures made in Mexico in the Spanish language,

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Dr. Otto von Niemann". Atwill followed this feature film with 1933's, "The Secret of Madame Blanche", co-starring Irene Dunne, his first of two movies with the popular actress. 

Fay Wray portrayed "Ruth Bertin". Wray followed this feature with her third feature film co-starring Lionel Atwill.

Melvyn Douglas portrayed "Karl Brettschneider". Douglas was just seen in director James Whale's classic comedy horror film, the underrated 1932, "The Old Dark House" with Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, Gloria Stuart, and Ernest Thesiger.

Dwight Frye portrayed "Herman Geib". Overlooked by Fry's roles of "Renfield" in 1931's, "Dracula", and "Fritz" in 1931's, "Frankenstein", was his the original role of "Wilmer Cook", shot between those two horror classics, in 1931's, "The Maltese Falcon", which is the closest film version to the Dashiel Hammett novel. My article is "DWIGHT FRYE: Overlooked Horror Icon" found at:

The Basic Screenplay:

The villagers of the town of Kleinschloss start dying from a loss of blood. The village elders suspect a resurgence of vampirism, but police inspector "Brettschneider" believes otherwise. 

The progressive scientist, "Dr. von Niemann", has been treating the victims and visits "Martha Mueller", portrayed by Rita Carlyle billed as Rita Carlisle, a victim of a bat. The doctor leaves and "Marsha" is visited by the eccentric "Herman Gleib". In their talk, he admits to liking bats, because "they're soft like cats", and "nice".

On his journey back home, "Dr. von Niemann" meets "Kringen", portrayed by George E. Stone, one of the villagers who claims to have been attacked by a vampire. "Kringen" reveals he didn't tell the village about it to avoid further fear, but the doctor suggests he does tell his story. The other believes that the vampire is "Gleib", because he collects and lives with bats.

"Dr. von Niemann" returns to his home, which houses "Inspector Brettschneider's" love, "Ruth Bertin", her hypochondriac aunt, "Gussie Schnappmann", portrayed Maude Eburne, and the doctors servants, "Emil Borst", portrayed by Robert Frazer, and "Georgiana", portrayed by Stella Adams.

Fear of the "vampire" resounds throughout the village and suspicion falls directly on "Herman Gleib". That night "Martha Mueller" is killed. "Dr. Niemann" and another doctor, "Dr. Haupt", portrayed by William Humphrey, examine the body and conclude that "Ms. Mueller's" death was like all the others, a loss of blood, with two tiny puncture wounds on her neck. As the two doctors are examining her, "Herman Gleib" enters the room, sees her, and runs out of the house screaming.

The next morning, inside his home, "Dr. von Niemann", "Inspector Brettschneider", and "Ruth Bertin" are discussing vampires. While, outside, "Herman Gleib" enters the doctor's garden, and sees "Ruth's" aunt. 

While, at the same moment, the town father's enter the house to exclaim that "Kringen" is dead and "Gleib" is missing. Next, an angry mob spots "Herman" and starts to chase him, ending in a cave.

Trying to escape the mob, "Herman Gleib" missteps and falls to his death as the villagers believe the vampire is now dead. However, the real killer, "Dr. von Niemann", telepathically has his servant "Emil Borst" bring the doctor "Georgiana", who is asleep, to the doctor's laboratory.

Once there, the two men drain "Georgiana" of all her blood, feeding it to something in a glass tank, which appears alive and growing.

The following morning, "Aunt Schnappmann" discovers the body of "Georgiana" in her bed. "Dr. von Niemann" and "Inspector Brettschneider" investigate and discover "Martha Mueller's" crucifix is in the bed with the dead servant. The crucifix was known to the two men to have been handled by "Herman Gleib", and they conclude that there are no vampires in the village and that "Gleib" has been the murderer all along.

However, upon hearing of "Gleib's" death, the inspector starts to rethink everything, but the doctor convinces the inspector that he needs some rest and gives him sleeping pills that are really poison. His plan is to have "Borst" bring "Brettschneider" to his laboratory and drain his blood.

"Ruth" accidentally discovers "Dr. von Niemann" telepathically controlling "Borst" and the doctor ties her up in his laboratory. Where it is now revealed that the doctor has created a new life form and has been feeding it the blood of the villagers to grow in size.

"Borst" rolls in a covered "Brettschneider" on a cart, but when "von Niemann" uncovers the body, it is "Borst", and the inspector reveals himself to be wearing the servants outer clothing.

The doctor lunges for the inspector and the gun falls to the floor as the two men wrestle and "Brettschneider" is knocked down. Recovering on the cart, "Borst" gets up and using his own gun kills "von Niemann" and then himself. While both, "Ruth" and the inspector watch this end play out. 

"Dr. von Niemann's" experiment is cut off from its supply of blood and dies, leaving "Ruth" and "Karl", together, in the happy ending.

Next, after Lionel Atwill was in his first Irene Dunne feature film, he reunited with Fay Wray for their third and final time together. Which was also the second all-technicolor horror film. "Warner Brothers" would remake the following as a period piece in 1953. Filmed in the "Third Dimension", starring Vincent Price's, would be the "House of Wax".

MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM Limited release on February 6, 1933

The  motion picture was directed once again by Michael Curtiz. He had just directed the Spencer Tracy and Bette Davis, 1932, “20,000 Years in Sing Sing”, and followed this feature film with the romantic comedy, 1933’s, “The Keyhole”, starring Kay Francis and George Brent.

The screenplay was based upon the 1932 short story, “The Waxworks”, by Charles S, Belden.

The films actual screenplay was from two writers, Don Mullaly, who only wrote four screenplays, this was his second. The other writer, Carl Erickson, co-wrote the same four screenplays, and like, Mullaly, changed his profession.

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Ivan Igor". Atwill followed this feature film was a forgotten mystery horror story, 1933's, "Murder in the Zoo", as a jealous husband who uses zoo animals to murder those he believes are in love with his wife. The film critic Leonard Maltin called that movie "astonishingly grisly" even for pre-motion picture code Hollywood. 

Fay Wray portrayed "Charlotte Duncan". Fay Wray's next motion picture was the one she is most remembered for, 1933's, "KING KONG". Next, she appeared in entirely forgotten movies until her second billing in the 1934 Hollywood biography "Viva Villa!", starring Wallace Beery as "Pancho Villa", and then it was back to more forgotten feature films and television dramas such as "Perry Mason".

Glenda Farrell portrayed "Florence Dempsey". Farrell started out in dramas such as her third on-screen appearance in the film that introduced Edward G. Robinson, 1931's, "Little Caesar", but had appeared on stage since she was seven, Farrell's persona was the wisecracking blonde, and she turned that into the successful newspaper reporter, "Torchy Blane", in 1937's, "Smart Blonde", that was the first in a series of six motion pictures.

Frank McHugh portrayed "Jim". A vaudevillian and legitimate state actor, he started at ten with his parents traveling company, McHugh, usually provided comic relief and first appeared on-screen in 1929. His career ended forty-years-later on an episode of the television western, "Lancer".

Allen Vincent portrayed "Ralph Burton". Vincent's motion picture career totaled twenty-six films, with the exception of his sixth, this picture, all entirely forgotten.

The screenplay is bound to have comparisons with 1953's, "House of Wax", but, because, "Mystery of the Wax Museum" is set mostly in the year it was made, 1933. The picture reflects the year it was made and as such, is very dated. However, there are sequences in the 1900 period piece, "Wax", that are almost exact copies found in "Mystery".

The Basic Screenplay:

The story opens in 1921, London, England, "Ivan Igor" runs a wax museum with historical recreations that is in financial difficulty. One evening he gives a tour to a friend, "Dr. Rasmussen", portrayed by Holmes Herbert, and art critic, "Mr. Galatalin", portrayed by Claude King. "Galatalin" is very impressed and promises to recommend "Igor" to the Royal Academy upon his return from Egypt, which he is leaving for in the morning.

Note: the wax statues are portrayed by actors and at times a slight movement occurs. In the following scene that is Fay Wray portraying "Marie Antionette".


The two men leave and "Ivan's" business partner, "Joe Worth", portrayed by Edwin Maxwell, arrives and purposes that the two men burn down the museum and collect the $10,000 ($238,712 as of the writing) on the insurance policy. "Ivan" refuses, but "Joe" sets the building on fire and leaves as "Igor" attempts to save his "children".

Cut to 1933 New York City,  and reports of a hideous figure stealing bodies from the morgue. 

Newspaper reporter "Florence Dempsey" is on the verge of being fired by her boss, "Jim", when she hears that wealthy son, "George Winton", portrayed by Gavin Gordon, is being held in jail as a suspect in the murder of his ex-girlfriend, "Joan Gale", portrayed by "Monica Bannister". 

"Florence" goes to witness the autopsy of "Gale", but the body has disappeared. Next, she visits "Winton" in jail, who convinces her he's innocent of the murder.

Meanwhile "Ivan Igor", now living in New York, is preparing to open his new wax museum. Because of his injuries from the London fire, "Ivan's" hands do not work. He is now confined to a wheelchair, and depends upon the work of hired assistants, such as "Ralph Burton", to create his wax figures.

"Ralph" happens to be engaged to "Florence's" roommate, "Charlotte Duncan". 

"Florence" doesn't approve of the match, because as nice a guy as "Ralph" is, he's still a starving artist. Going with "Charlotte" to visit "Ralph" at the museum, "Florence" sees an uncanny resemblance to the wax figure of "Joan of Arc" and "Joan Gale".

"Ralph" wheels out "Ivan" to meet "Charlotte" and also introduces him to "Florence". "Ivan Igor" seems to stare at "Charlotte", apologizes to her explaining she is the exact duplicate of his "Marie Antionette".

Next, "Florence" is able to get "George Winton" released from jail, and talks him into helping her follow "Professor Darcy", portrayed by Arthur Edmund Carewe, whom "Ivan Igor" said created "Joan of Arc". The two follow "Darcy" to a derelict building that happens to be owned by "Joe Worth", who happens to also be in New York City. "Florence" enters the building and goes downstairs and watches a hideous figure pushing a crate. 

Returning to "George", she finds him being interviewed by two detectives that were following him, "Florence" tells the police that she's found the body of "Joan Gale", but just then "Darcy" leaves and the two detectives call for help and capture him. While, the crate turns out to be holding bottles of whiskey, because "Joe Worth" is now a bootlegger. At the police station, "Professor Darcy", turns out to be an addict known as "Sparrow", who works for both "Joe Worth" and "Ivan Igor". However, his questioning becomes intense when the pocket watch of a missing judge is found in "Sparrow's" pocket.

At the museum, "Charlotte" has come looking for "Ralph", but he hasn't gotten there yet. Next, "Ivan Igor" appears in his wheelchair, and is able to lure "Charlotte" to his underground laboratory and reveals that he can walk.

At the same time, "Ralph" arrives and lets in "Florence", who is knocking on the museums front door. The two go over to a statue of "Voltaire", and looking at a picture of the missing judge, realize they're the same face.

While, back at the police station, "Darcy-Sparrow", is telling the detectives that "Ivan Igor" is murdering people, and covering them in wax to make statues.

Cut to "Charlotte" facing the standing "Ivan Igor" and in madness strikes his face breaking off a wax face covering the hideous creature that has been robbing the morgue and murdering people.

"Ivan Igor" uncovers the body of "Joe Worth" and tells "Charlotte" that his search for the man who caused his burnt features was now over. The screaming "Charlotte's" voice is heard by both "Ralph" and "Florence" and leads them to "Igor". There's a short fight and "Ivan" knocks "Ralph" unconscious as "Florence" runs away.

"Ivan" places "Charlotte" on a table and straps her down. As he sets the machine containing the hot wax to be poured over her, giving "Ivan Igor" the body of his "Marie Antionette" once more.

Just then, "Florence" and "Winton" return followed by the police. A shot rings out and "Ivan Igor" falls into the vat of hot wax, and just in time, "Ralph" regains consciousness and saves "Charlotte" from the flowing hot wax.

Overlooked by many, mainly because the title is all but forgotten, is a "Universal Pictures" mystery with a touch of horror that, looking back over time, has an interesting cast of actors and director.

THE SECRET OF THE BLUE ROOM released July 20, 1933

I start with the director, Kurt Neumann, a producer, writer, and director starting in 1931. Among his work as a writer are 1936's, "Dracula's Daughter",  and 1943's, "Return of the Vampire". As a director, my reader will find 1950's, "Rocketship X-M", which he also produced, 1956's, "Kronos", that Kurt Neumann, produced and directed, and 1958's, original, "The Fly", that he also produced, and directed. While in 1977, he directed original material for the Italian, colorized, version of 1956's, "Godzilla, King of the Monsters".

The screenplay was based upon the 1932 German motion picture "Geheimnis des blauen Zimmers (Mystery of the Blue Room)", screenplay by Arnold Lippschitz. Who fled Germany with the rise of Hitler to France, known there as Arnold Lip. Once again he fled with the arrival of the Germans, came  to the United States and became screenplay writer, Arnold Lipp.

However, using the name Erich Phillippi, Arnold Lippschitz adapted his own German language screenplay for the English language version with changes required by "Universal Pictures". What happened, is that some reviewers and websites, credit Lipp and Phillippi as two different writers.

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Robert von Hellforf". Atwill had just been seen in 1933's, "The Song of Songs", co-starring with Marlene Dietrich, and Brian Aherne. He would follow this feature film with "The Solitaire Man", co-starring with Herbert Marshall and Mary Borland.

Gloria Stuart portrayed "Irene von Helldorf". In 1932, Gloria Stuart was in the ensemble cast of director James Whale's, "The Old Dark House". She would follow this motion picture co-starring with the unknown actor, Claude Rains, in Whale's, 1933 version of British author, H.G. Wells', "The Invisible Man". In 1997, Gloria Stuart was rediscovered by millions of movie goers for portraying "Old Rose", in director James Cameron's, "Titanic".

Paul Lukas portrayed "Captain Walter Brink". To many fans of Walt Disney's, 1954 version of French author, Jules Verne's, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", the actor portrayed "Professor Pierre Aronnax". However, his distinguish film career included the "Academy Award for Best Actor", and the first ever, "Golden Globe for Best Actor", for 1943's, "Watch on the Rhine", and earlier still was the Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard comedy classic, 1940's, "The Ghost Breakers", and director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1938, "The Lady Vanishes".

Edward Arnold portrayed "Commissioner Forster". Character actor Arnold started his on-stage acting career in English playwright, William Shakespeare's, "The Merchant of Venice", at the age of twelve. His on-screen appearances began in 1916, at the age of twenty-five, in "The Misleading Lady". He had eighth-billing in the only motion picture starring all three Barrymore's, John, Lionel, and Ethel, 1932's, "Raputin and the Empress". Among his feature films after this picture are 1933's, "Roman Scandals", starring Eddie Cantor, and Gloria Stuart, co-starring with George Arliss, and Maureen O'Sullivan in 1935's, "Cardinal Richelieu", portraying the title role of "Jim Brady", in the 1935 biography, "Diamond Jim", with Jean Arthur, and director Josef von Sterberg's, 1935,  classic version of Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky's, "Crime and Punishment", co-starring, at the time, a still unknown Peter Lorrie.

The Basic Screenplay:

At a rural German manor the 21st birthday of "Irene von Helldorf" is to be celebrated with her father, "Robert", and main suitor, "Thomas 'Tommy' Brandt", portrayed by William Janney, and his two rivals, "Walter Brink", and "Frank Farber", portrayed by Onslow Stevens, see 1945's, "House of Dracula".

"Thomas" challenges his two rivals to each spend a night in the mysterious locked blue room, said to contain a family curse, in which, twenty-years earlier, three murders occurred at exactly one-hour past midnight. The first victim had been "Robert's" sister, next, it was his best friend, and last, the detective attempting to solve the case. 

That night, "Thomas" sleeps in "The Blue Room" and disappears at exactly one-hour past midnight. The following day, "Irene" explores the room, is attacked by an unseen assailant, knocked unconscious and can't describe the assailant. "Frank" next agrees to sleep in "The Blue Room" after "Robert" retires for the evening. In the room, shortly after midnight, "Frank" starts playing the piano found in it to let everyone know he's still alive. Unable to sleep, "Irene" is being comforted by "Walter", when a gunshot rings out and the piano playing abruptly stops. "Walter" rushes to "The Blue Room", to find "Frank" shot to death.

"Walter" contacts "Commissioner Forster". Next, the alert button within "The Blue Room" goes off and "Walter" enters the room to find that a cat has set if off, but that raises the question:
How did the cat get into "The Blue Room"?

The answer is for my reader to discover, watching the motion picture, as of this writing, found at:

Moving forward I come to a story of revenge set during the First World War.

THE MAN WHO RECLAIMED HIS HEAD released on December 24, 1934

This mystery drama was directed by Edward Ludwig. Ludwig, an actor turned director, would go on to direct John Wayne's, 1944, "The Fighting Seabees", 1948's, "Wake of the Red Witch", and 1952's, "Big Jim McLain". Science fiction/horror fans know Edward Ludwig's 1957's, "The Black Scorpion", with some of the last and not completed, because of running out of money, stop-motion animation by Willis O'Brien.
French playwright Jean Bart wrote the original play and he was also one of the two credited screenplay writers. The other was Samuel Ornitz, who became one of the "Hollywood Ten", accused by the "House Committee on Un-American Activities", and "Blacklisted" by the American studios as a communist.

Claude Rains portrayed "Paul Verin". Rains had just been in his second feature film, the 1934 crime drama, "Crime Without Passion". He would follow this film with the 1935 film version of British author Charles Dickens', "The Mystery of Edwin Drood". My article about the actor, "---CLAUDE RAINS WAS THE INVISIBILE MAN---", will be read at:

Joan Bennett portrayed "Adele Verin". She had just appeared in 1934, "The Pursuit of Happiness" and followed this picture with 1935's, "Private Worlds", co-starring with Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer. My article about the actress is "Joan Bennett: "Elizabeth Collins Stoddard" of "Dark Shadows" at:

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Henri Dumont". Atwill had just co-starred with Verree Teasdale and Richard Cortez in the 1934 mystery, "The Firebird". He would follow this feature film co-starring with Marlene Dietrich and Edward Everett Horton, in 1935's, "The Devil Is a Woman".

The Basic Screenplay:

Briefly, in 1915, "Paul Verin" is walking the streets of Paris with his little daughter on one arm and a black satchel on the other. He enters his boyhood friend's office, attorney "Fernand De Marnay's", portrayed by Henry O'Neil", and tells his story.

"Paul Verin" is a pacifist political writer, whose wife wants to move to Paris and the grand life. To make more money to move, "Paul" starts working for politician "Henri Dumont" writing anti-war articles, but under "Dumont's" name. This result of having "Dumont" and not "Verin's" name on the articles, has powerful people thinking how clever the politician is and he moves up in the political world of France.

When war breaks out, "Henri Dumont" wants "Paul's" articles to become pro-war for the armament manufactures he is now being paid by, but "Verin" refuses. The politician arranges for pacifist "Paul" to be sent to the front lines in the hope he will be killed, because "Henri Dumont" lusts for "Paul Verin's" wife, "Adele. 

However, "Paul" is not killed, but the pacifist has gone insane over being forced onto the horrors of war. He finds his leave cancelled, because of interference by "Dumont", and without authorization, he leaves camp anyway. "Paul" returns home to see his wife and little girl, but instead, he walks in to find "Dumont" making sexual advances upon "Adele". French soldier "Paul Verin" takes his bayonet and kills "Henri Dumont".

Switch back to "Marnay's" office as "Paul's" story ends and the other discovers "Dumont's" head in the black satchel.

In 1935, director Tod Browning remade a lost horror classic of the silent era, Lon Chaney's, "London After Midnight", based upon a short story, "The Hypnotist", written by Browning. 

The following is a revised section from my article "Tod Browning: Lon Chaney Meets Béla Lugosi; A Tale of Two Movies", found at:


MARK OF THE VAMPIRE released on April 26, 1935

As stated above, the motion picture was directed by Tod Browning. Browing's last release was 1932's, "Freaks", and he followed this feature film with 1936's, "Devil Doll".

Look all you want and the credits for "Mark of the Vampire" never mention Tod Browning's story "The Hypnotist". However, the film is considered a remake of Browning's 1927, "London After Midnight". Although the names of the characters are different and the setting has been moved to Prague.

The released movie was also known as "Vampires of Prague". When the film was released to general audiences "Metro-Golden-Mayer" had it edited to 60 minutes. Just as "London After Midnight" is considered a "Lost Film". The original preview audience running time of "Mark of the Vampire" is rumored to have been closer to 80 minutes, but, if true, that footage is also lost. Only the working screenplay exists and that's not the original either.

That original screenplay was written by Guy Endore. In 1933, novelist Endore would write "The Werewolf of  Paris". To Werewolf lore that novel equates to the same status as Bram Stoker's, 1897"Dracula". Along with Garrett Fort, Guy Endore wrote the screenplay for Tod Browning 1936 "The Devil Doll", in 1945 Endore wrote the screenplay for Robert Mitchum's on screen debut "The Story of G.I. Joe" and Endore was nominated for an "Academy Award". In 1961 he adopted his novel "Werewolf of Paris" into the Hammer Studio's feature film "Curse of the Werewolf". However, as Guy Endore was "Blacklisted", his name was removed from the picture's credits. Actual Communist Endore's story is very interesting and may be read at:

Above Guy Endore

Lionel Barrymore portrayed "Dr. Zelen". Barrymore had been acting in film since 1905. In 1929 he portrayed French author Jules Verne's, "Prince Dakkar" aka: "Captain Nemo", in the hybrid, part silent, part talkie, "The Mysterious Island". In 1932 he was "Rasputin", his brother John was "Czar Nicholas" and his sister Ethel was the "Czarina Alexandra" in "Rasputin and the Empress" and in 1936 he starred in Tod Browning's "The Devil Doll".

Above Lionel Barrymore as "Professor Zelen" and Elizabeth Allan portraying "Irene Borotyn".

This was Elizabeth Allen's 24th role and previously she starred in the 1932 version of "The Lodger" about "Jack the Ripper". Allen co-starred with Robert Montgomery in 1934's "The Mystery of Mr. X" and right before this film portrayed "Mrs. Coperfield" in the 1935 version of British author, Charles Dickens', "David Coperfield".

Bela Lugosi 
 portrayed "Count Moria". He had just been seen in 1935's, "The Raven", co-starring with Boris Karloff.

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Inspector Neumann". Atwill was just seen in 1935's, "The Devil Was A Woman", co-starring with Marlene Dietrich and Everett Edward Horton, and followed this picture with third billing in the Spencer Tracy and Mary Shannon, 1935, "The Murder Man", with sixth-billed was Jimmy Stewart.

Jean Hersholt portrayed "Baron Otto von Zinden". Danish American character actor Hersholt started in silents in his native Denmark in 1906. He came to the United States around 1913 and appeared in a variety of roles, but mostly what could be described as "Shady Characters". Prior to this film Hersholt had appeared in the 1930 horror mystery, "The Cat Creeps". In 1932 he was in "The Mask of Fu Manchu" starring Boris Karloff and Myrna Loy. After "Mark of the Vampire" he is best remembered as Shirley Temple's grandfather in the 1937 version of "Heidi".

Henry Wadsworth portrayed "Fedor Vincente". Wadsworth acted between 1929 and 1945 for a total of only 22 films. He oured with the USO during World War 2 and became a Union Administrator and President of the AFL's Film Council afterwards and the reason he retired from films.

Above Elizabeth Allen and Henry Wadsworth.

Donald Meek portrayed "Dr. Doskil". Meek is probably best known to fans of both director John Ford and John Wayne, portraying "Samuel Peacock" in 1939's, "Stagecoach".  He also played Walter Pidgeon's friend "Beeswax Bartholomew" in a series of "Nick Carter" movie mysteries.

Above Donald Meeks and Lionel Atwill.

Carroll "Carol" Borland portrayed "Luna the Bat Girl". Borland is forever associated with this film and for inspiring Maila Nurmi's "Vampira" look and costume. Prior to this film she was in a 1933 short and after this picture she only appeared on screen three more times through 1985. 

Borland is part of my article "Female Vampires of the Silver Screen 1927-1960" for my readers to sink their fangs in at:

Above Bela Lugosi  and Carol Borland.

Holmes Herbert is "Sir Karell Borotyn". Herbert had been acting since 1915 and Horror fans know him as "Dr. Lanyard" in the 1931 version of Scottish author, Robert Lewis Stevenson's, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", starring Fredric March. In 1933 he was in the cast of "The Mystery of the Wax Museum" and also "The Invisible Man". In 1935 Holmes Herbert was also in Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland's, "Captain Blood".


Above Holmes Herbert with Bela Lugosi

The Basic Screenplay:

The story starts with the discovering of the body of "Sir Karell Borotyn" in the family castle with two tiny puncture marks in his jugular vein. The attending physician, "Dr. Doskil", and "Sir Karell's" closest friend, "Baron Otto von Zinden", immediately suspect this is the return of the legendary Prague Vampire "Count Mora" and his daughter "Luna".

However, "Police Inspector Neumann" believes otherwise and is not one to believe local superstitions about the living dead. He was raised in Prague and knows all the tales of "Count Mora" and his daughter".

"Inspector Neumann" starts his own investigation of possible suspects starting with "Fedor Vincente". Who would gain a large sum of money by marrying "Irena Borotyn", because once her father was dead, his estate would pass to her. "Irene" does not believe "Fedor" would have anything to do with her father's death.

Elizabeth Allan, Lionel Atwill, and Henry Wadsworth in Mark of the Vampire (1935)

The Inspector next questions "Baron Otto", who has become the underage "Irena's" guardian and controller of the Estate. "Neumann" moves to "Dr. Doskil's" office and questions the local innkeeper. Who also believes that "Count Mora" and "Luna" are real and claims to have seen them as bats. 

One year, now passes without any conclusions by "Inspector Neumann" in the death of "Sir Karell Borotyn". The idea that he was killed by "Count Mora" and his daughter remain. "Irena Borotyn" now lives in another house near the castle. The "Borotyn" castle is up for sale as she does not want to live in the place her father died in.

By now the famous Occult and Vampire expert "Professor Zelen" has heard about the return of "Count Mora" and his daughter. He goes to "Inspector Neumann" expressing his own belief that the Count is real and is a danger to "Irena". He also talks to  "Baron Otto", "Fedor" and "Dr. Doskil" and of course "Irena" about his belief.

"Neumann" still expresses his reluctance that there are vampires walking the area around the "Borotyn" castle, but at "Irena's" new residence, "Fedor" enters in distress not remembering anything other than passing the old castle on his way to catch a train. He woke up very weaken and went back to "Irena's". There "Dr. Doskil" discovers the same bite marks on "Fedor's" neck and shows them to "Professor Zelen".

Next a wagon carrying "Maria", played by Leila Bennett, the new maid for the "Borotyn" estate passes the old castle and she sees "Luna" walking in the mist.

In an hysterical state "Maria" tells everyone about her encounter, but "Baron Otto" attempts to calm the new maid saying it was probably the Real Estate Agents showing the property and not vampires. Later that night "Irena" is found sitting in her garden in a trance and it is discussed that she encountered "Luna".

"Professor Zelen" now orders that bat-thorn, a flower that repels vampires, be placed throughout the house and all the windows kept shut and locked. A problem for "Inspector Neumann" occurs when a newly signed lease is found for the "Borotyn" castle. On it is the signature of "Sir Karell Borotyn" himself. How could a dead man have signed it? It is decided to verify that "Sir Karell" is actually in his coffin. "Inspector Neumann", "Professor Zelen" and "Baron Otto" go to the "Borotyn Family Crypt".

The group finds "Sir Karell's" coffin empty. They return to "Irena's" house and as the servants continue to spread more bat-thorn. A bat-flies into the house and becomes "Count Mora", but the vampire is driven off by the bat-thorn.

"Mark Of The Vampire" Bela Lugosi 1935 MGM / **I.V.

Discovering that the only way to destroy a vampire is to find their graves during the day, cut off their heads and place bat-thorn in the severed head and neck. It is decided that once again "Inspector Neumann", Professor Zelen" and "Baron Otto" will go into the castle, find the coffins of "Count Mora" and "Luna", and perform the deed, They leave "Irena's" house shortly before the dawn breaks to have the full use of daylight to locate the coffins.

Lionel Atwill and Jean Hersholt in Mark of the Vampire (1935)

Lionel Atwill and Jean Hersholt in Mark of the Vampire (1935)

Looking through one of the castle's window "Neumann" and the "Baron" not only see "Count Mora" and his daughter "Luna", but "Sir Karell Borotyn". Who goes to the organ and starts to play some of his favorite pieces.


Up to this scene the entire cast had a script to learn their lines from. However, they did not have the final pages and according to later interviews with Lionel Barrymore and especially Bela Lugosi and Carol Borland. Todd Browning never told the cast how the picture ended until they had shot, to his satisfaction, everything that comes before the final sequences. Borland in several interviews said Browning claimed he thought knowing the her role and Lugosi's were not real vampires would impact negatively on their performances and possibly the others in the cast.

Continuing with the MGM Release

"Irena" arrives at the castle and finds "Professor Zelen" watching "Inspector Neumann" and "Baron Otto von Zinden". The two are still looking at the events inside the castle.

"Irena" now tells  "Zelen" she can no longer continue with his plan to force "Baron Otto" to confess he murdered her father by frightening the very superstitious "Baron". Who believes in the tales of "Count Mora" and his daughter and now is viewing her father's living dead body. He advises her that it is time to stop the ruse.

"Professor Zelen" now hypnotizes the susceptible "Baron Otto". As, in the 1927 feature, the murderer, in his own mind, re-enacts the murder events and "Inspector Neumann" obtains the "Baron's" confession. As in"London After Midnight, we have the ending with the actors, but with added dialogue that goes back to the audience watching Bela  Lugosi.

That dialogue is:
This vampire business, it has given me a great idea for a new act! Luna, in the new act, I will be the vampire! Did you watch me? I gave all of me! I was greater than any REAL vampire!
Also note that it is "Luna" who owns the acting company. As her truck reads:
Luna The Bat Women Theatre

I want to switch from vampires to pirates and a classic film in that genre.

CAPTAIN BLOOD premiered December 19, 1935

The motion picture was directed by Michael Curtiz. His latest release was 1935's, "Little Big Shot", starring Glenda Farrell and Robert Armstrong. He would follow this film with the horror story, 1936's, "The Walking Dead", starring Boris Karloff.

The screenplay was based upon the 1922 novel by Italian author Rafael Sabatini. It was written by Casey Robinson, who started by writing the title cards for still silent movies in 1927. Among his other works are Bette Davis's, 1939, "Dark Victory", the controversial 1942, "King's Row", that contain the implied homosexual relations between the two characters portrayed by Ronald Reagan and Robert "Bob" Cummings.

Errol Flynn portrayed "Peter Blood". Australian actor Errol Flynn's first motion picture role was portraying "Fletcher Christian", in the 1933, "Wake of the Bounty", the second movie based upon the mutiny and the second movie from Australia on those events. My article is "The Mutiny on the 'HMAV (His Majesty's Armed Vehicle) Bounty' in Motion Pictures" at:

Flynn followed this feature film with his second time co-starring with actress Olivia de Havilland, 1936's, "The Charge of the Light Brigade".

Olivia de Havilland portrayed Arabella Bishop". This was de Havilland's fourth on-screen appearance and her third had been the all-star-cast, 1935 version, of British playwright William Shakespeare's, "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Colonel Bishop". Atwill had just been seen in the William Powell, Rosalind Russell, and Binnie Barnes, World War One comedy, 1935, "Rendezvous". He would follow this motion picture with the romantic drama, 1936's, "Lady of Secrets".

Basil Rathbone portrayed French pirate "Levasseur". This was the first of four films with Lionel Atwill and Basil Rathbone. Rathbone followed this feature with the comedy drama, 1936's, "Private Numbers", co-starring with Robert Taylor and Loretta Young. That film would be followed with the role of "Tybalt - Nephew to Lady Capulet", in the 1936 version of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet".

Above, J. Carrol Nash portraying "Cahusac" and Basil Rathbone.

My article is "Basil Rathbone: From the Boer War to The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini" that can be read at:

The Basic Screenplay:

In 1685 England, physician "Dr. Peter Blood" is summoned to the house of "Lord Gildoy", portrayed by David Cavendish billed as Dennis D. Auburn, in need of medical treatment from being wounded as a participant in the actual, "Monmouth Rebellion". Where a group of Protestants, led by James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, the eldest illegitimate son of the late King Charles II, King of Scotland and England, was attempting to overthrow the newly crowned King James II. The reason for the rebellion was that James was Catholic.

"Peter Blood" does not finish his treatment, before he is arrested. "Blood" and others are charged with treason against "King James II" and convicted in the court of the real, "George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffrey, known as "The Hanging Judge", portrayed in this picture by Leonard Mudie, and sentenced to death.

However, "Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland", portrayed by Haliwell Hobbes, who represents the king, has "Peter Blood' and others transported to the West Indies to be sold into slavery. 

In Port Royal, "Dr. Peter Blood's" rebellious nature attracts "Arabella Bishop", the niece of the local military commander, "Colonel Bishop".

She suggests "Blood" becomes the colony's needed doctor and he can treat the colony's "Governor Steed", portrayed by George Hassell. This gives "Dr. Blood", except at night, almost complete freedom of movement on Jamaica. 

"Blood" develops an escape plan for his fellow prisoners and himself. While he is developing an interest in "Arabella Bishop", as "Colonel Bishop" becomes suspicious of "Blood".


"Bishop" has "Jeremy Pitt", portrayed by Ross Alexander, a young man who admires "Peter Blood", flogged and left without food or water tied to a pole. "Dr. Blood" is about to meet a similar fate, when a Spanish galleon arrives and starts shelling Port Royal. "Peter Blood" leads his fellow prisoners onto the galleon and they sail away into a life of piracy under "Captain Blood". At sea, he dictates to "Jeremy" a set of rules for his crew including the division of the spoils.

"Peter Blood" teams up with another pirate, the French "Captain Levasseur", while "Governor Steed" is unable to control the pirate situations and "Colonel Bishop" becomes the new governor of Jamaica. "Bishop" sends his niece "Arabella" back to England and three-years-later, she returns. Her ship is attacked by "Levasseur" and "Arabella Bishop" is taken prisoner along with royal emissary "Lord Willoughby", portrayed by Henry Stephenson, below.
"Captain  Blood" and his crew meet "Captain Levasseur" and his crew and the Frenchman wants to hold "Arabella" and "Lord Willoughby" for ransom. "Peter" convinces "Levasseur" to sell the two to him. Even after accepting "Blood's" payment for his two prisoners, the Frenchman still objects to not holding them for ransom. One thing leads to another, and Basil Rathbone finally is able to show off his military trained swordsmanship in a duel with Errol Flynn.

"Blood" now orders the ship to sail to Port Royal, knowing the danger to him and his crew, and are stopped with the sight of French ships attacking the port without any defense coming from the shore. It is apparent to "Peter Blood" that "Colonel Bishop's" obsession with capturing him has left the port undefended. "Lord Willoughby" asks "Blood" to fight the French, but receives a reply from the crew and their captain that they will not fight for "King James II". At which point, "Lord Willoughby" informs them that "James" is no longer on the throne. He was kicked out of England and fled to France, and good "King William Henry", now "William III", aka: "William of Orange", rules. 

Having "Arabella" and "Lord Willoughby" taken to a safe place shore, "Captain Peter Blood" has the French flag raised and moves within the French ships, lowering that flag and raising the Union Jack, he surprises the French and wins the day. "Colonel Bishop" arrives back and is arrested for deserting his post in the time of war and meets the new governor of Jamaica, "Doctor Peter Blood", who also gets "Arabella Bishop" to admit that she has always been in love with him.

Three forgotten dramas came next and then another mostly forgotten film, made in the United Kingdom, but starring Lionel Atwill, with a very good story.

THE HIGH COMMAND released March 22, 1937 in London

Based upon a novel "The General Gone Too Far", by Lewis Robinson, the screenplay was written by American Katherine Strueby living in England. She would write the 1942, "The First of the Few", aka: "Spitfire", directed by and starring Leslie Howard, and David Niven. Which was the story of the designing and building of the British "Spitfire" fighter.

The movie was directed by Thorold Dickinson, who directed the excellent original, 1940's, "Gaslight", starring Anton Walbrook and Diana Wynyard.

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Major General Sir John Sanger, VC". He had just been seen in the 1936, American made movie, "Absolute Quiet", and followed this feature film with eleventh-billing in 1937's, "The Road Back".

Lucie Mannheim portrayed "Diana Cloam". The Berlin born actress had started acting in Germany in 1919, and in 1929, she co-starred in the German film "Atlantic", the first sound movie based on the sinking of the "Titanic". The film is part of my article "The RMS TITANIC DISASTER on the Motion Picture Screen" at:

Being Jewish, she left Germany with the rise of Hitler and came to England. She was third-billed in director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1935, "The 39 Steps".

Steven Geray portrayed "Martin Cloam". Hungarian born Geray was a familiar face in film-noirs, but he was also featured in director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1945, "Spellbound", and 1955's, "To Catch a Thief". Along with director and writer Joseph L. Mankiewicz's, 1950's, "All About Eve", and Howard Hawks', musical, 1953's, "Gentleman Prefer Blondes".

Above, Steven Geray having his cigarette lite by Lionel Atwill.

James Mason portrayed "Captain Heverell", who is having an affair with the estranged wife of "Martin Cloam".  This was only Mason's ninth on-screen appearance, just prior to this film, he was fourteenth-billed in the Laurence Olivier, Flora Robson, and Vivian Leigh, period piece, 1937, "Fire Over England". James Mason followed this film by starring in the forgotten 1937, "Catch As Catch Can". My article is "James Mason: A Spotlight On His 1950's Roles" to be read at:

The Basic Screenplay:

During the 1921 "Irish War for Independence", a British Officer, "John Sanger", murders another officer and places the blame on the Irish rebels. Move forward to 1937, and the now, "Victoria Cross" awarded "John Sanger" is a "Major General" in command of British garrison in West Africa. He also has a daughter who has no knowledge of the events in 1921. 

Above, Leslie Perrins portraying "Dr. Major Carson", Allan Jeayes portraying "H. E., the Governor", and Lionel Atwill.

The unscrupulous garrison medical officer, "Major Carson", is found dead and the local police search for clues as to the murderer. Their search will lead to the garrison's commanding officer, from documents found in the medical officer's apartment pointing to a "possible" romantic rival murdered in Ireland. Which in turn becomes  the court martial investigation of "Major General John Sangye". In the end, to keep the knowledge from his daughter, who, as I said, knows nothing of her father past, he will be "murdered by an unknown person", actually the sentence from the court martial, but that real reason for his death, kept covered up by the British army.

Next, Lionel Atwill found himself in an excellent First World War spy thriller. British actor Colin Clive was to have been in the following picture, but he collapsed on set and died on June 25, 1937 Colin Clive passed away from pneumonia brought on by alcoholism. He was just 37 years old. For those of my readers interested in Clive, my article is "Colin Clive: Henry, Not Victor Frankenstein and Alcoholism", at:

LANCER SPY released October 9, 1937

Above, the British poster for this American made motion picture.

The feature film was directed by Gregory Ratoff, this was his second motion picture as a director. Russian born Ratoff over his career was an actor, writer, director, and producer. 

The screenplay was based upon a novel by Belgian nurse Marthe Crockaert. She was an actual First World War spy for the United Kingdom, working a German hospital for German officers in the city of Roeselare.

The actual screenplay was written by Philip Dunne, the 1936 version of American author James Fennimore Cooper's, "The Last of the Mohicans", 1938's, "Suez", and 1939, "Stanley and Livingston".

George Sanders portrayed the dual roles of German "Baron Kurt von Rohback" and his British double, "Lieutenant Michael Bruce". Sanders  was last seen co-starring with Gloria Stuart and Michael Whalen in the 1937 comedy, "The Lady Escapes". He would follow this feature film with the romantic adventure, 1938's, "International Settlement", co-starring with Dolores Del Rio.

Dolores del Rio portrayed "Dolores Daria Sunnel". She had just co-starred with Richard Dix and Chester Morris, in 1937's, "The Devil's Playground", and followed this feature with a cameo as herself, in the 1937 Eddie Cantor comedy musical, "Ali Baba Goes to Town".

Peter Lorre portrayed German officer "Major Sigfried Gruning". Lorre was just seen in another of his "Mr. Moto" series, 1937's, "Think Fast Mr. Moto". The German born actor followed this motion picture with another entry portraying the Japanese detective, 1937's, "Thank You Mr. Moto". My article is "PETER LORRE: Overlooked, or Forgotten Performances" found at:

Lionel Atwill, depending upon the source was either eighth, or ninth-billed as British army "Colonel Fenwick". Atwill had just been seen in the Dorothy Lamour, Lew Ayres, and Gilbert Roland, 1937, adventure drama, "The Last Train to Madrid". The actor followed this motion picture with 1937's, "The Wrong Road", co-starring with Richard Cromwell and Helen Mack.

The Basic Screenplay:

The British intelligence officer "Colonel Fenwick" is informed that a Naval officer is the doppelgänger of a top German officer, "Baron Kurt von Rohbach", who has now been captured. A plan is hatched to have "Naval Lieutenant Michael Bruce" return to Germany and gather information from "von Rohbach's" contacts. However, German intelligence officer "Major Sigfried Gruning" believes there is something too perfect with "von Rohbach" and hatches his own plan to capture the imposture. However, he doesn't consider the possibility that his own spy, his trusted "Dolores Daria Sunnel", might betray him by falling in love with the British agent, or is she also a British agent?

Hollywood in the 1930's and 1940's had an apparent liking to using the word "Great" in film titles. As it was, Lionel Atwill would appear in two of these, 1937's, "The Great Garrick", starred Brian Aherne and Olivia de Havilland with fifth-billed Lionel Atwill, and 1938's, "The Great Waltz", starred Luise Rainer and Miliza Koreas with third-billed Atwill.

Next, character actor Lionel Atwill found himself in one of his most rememberable roles to fans of "Universal Pictures" horror and the first of his five motion pictures about "Frankenstein"!

SON OF FRANKENSTEIN premiered in Baltimore, Maryland, on         January 10, 1939

The feature was directed by Rowland V. Lee. Lee started out as an actor in 1917 and had appeared in 12 silent films through 1920. He switched to screenplay writing in 1921 and wrote his 14th and final script in 1959, with the biblical story, "The Big Fisherman", starring 
Howard Keel and John Saxton. In 1920, Roland Lee directed his first feature film and when he directed his last feature film, the 1945, Charles Laughton and Randolph Scott, "Captain Kid", his total was 58 directed motion pictures.  Besides "The Big Fisherman", Lee had produced 15 feature films including this picture and both of Warner Oland's, "Fu Manchu"
movies, 1929's, "The Mysterious Fu Manchu", and 1930's, "The Return of Fu Manchu". 

This screenplay was suggested by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus", and written by Wyllis Cooper, writing as Willis Cooper. He had co-written three of Peter Lorre's, "Mr. Moto" detective films, and created the story for the Bela Lugosi, 1939, cliff-hanger, "The Phantom Creeps".

Basil Rathbone 
portrayed "Baron Wolf von Frankenstein". In the first two motion pictures of the series, Colin Clive portrayed "Henry Frankenstein" and not "Henry VON Frankenstein". 

Boris Karloff portrayed "The Monster". This was William Henry Pratt aka: Boris Karloff aka: Karloff's third and final time to portray "Henry Frankenstein", not Mary Shelley's "Victor Frankenstein's" creation. The actor had just been seen in 1939's, "Devil's Island", and would follow this feature film with another in his "Mr. Wong Detective" series, 1939's, "The Mystery of Mr. Wong". Like Peter Lorre portraying the Japanese detective "Mr.  Moto", Boris Karloff also played an Asian detective in a film series. My article, "Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Warner Oland, Sidney Toler: '3' Famous Asian Literary Detectives Portrayed by Non-Asian Actors", will be found at:

Bela Lugosi portrayed "Ygor". Lugosi was just seen in 1939's, "The Phantom Creeps", 
and followed this feature film with 1939's, "The Dark Eyes of London" aka: "The Human Monster".

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Inspector Krogh"

Josephine Hutchinson portrayed "Elsa von Frankenstein". She had just co-starred with Ralph Bellamy in 1938's, "The Crime of Doctor Hallet", and followed this film with the Madeleine Carroll and Louis Hayward, 1940, "My Son, My Son!".

Donnie Dunagan portrayed "Peter von Frankenstein"Dunagan had only seven roles on-film, one was the voice of the "Young Bambi"for Walt DisneyAnother was as a "Young Prince", in 1939's, "The Tower of London", directed by Roland V. Lee.

The Basic Screenplay:

"Wolf von Frankenstein" takes his wife and son back to the family castle to redeem his father's reputation, but other than "Inspector Krogh", whose left arm was "ripped out at the roots" by "Henry Frankenstein's" monster when he was a child, the villagers want nothing to do with him. "Krogh's" arm in an interesting plot point, because the character or attack by the monsters, isn't in either the screenplay for director James Whale's, 1931, "Frankenstein"or his 1935, "The Bride of Frankenstein". Also of interest, is that the inspector is a sympathetic character toward "Wolf".

Investigating the castle grounds, "Wolf" meets "Ygor", who explains his broken neck was a result of a failed hanging over "alleged" grave robbing by him. "Ygor" takes "Wolf von Frankenstein" to meet "his brother", the monster, because they both have the same father. The monster can no longer speak and has somehow survived the explosion of "Henry Frankenstein's" lab at the end of the 1935 feature. In fact, the monster is in the ruins of that castle tower like laboratory.

What follows is "Ygor" stirring "Wolf's" curiosity about his father's creation and the restoring the monster to full life.

"Ygor" now uses the monster to kill those who convicted him of graverobbing. "Wolf" is sure "Ygor" is behind the murders, but "Inspector Krogh" thinks otherwise. 

The monster had befriended "Peter von Frankenstein", at the climax, he kidnaps the boy, and takes him to the sulfur pit located under the tower "Henry Frankenstein" used as a laboratory, even though it was never mentioned in either previous film. 


"Wolf" and "Inspector Krogh" go after the monster to save "Peter". "Krogh" finds the monster and "Peter" first, but the monster rips off "Inspector Krogh's" fake left arm as he was taking aim with a pistol.

The monster puts "Peter" down, and unexpectedly, "Wolf" swings in on a chain pushing the monster into the sulfur pit and rescues his son. 

Next, keeping a straight face against the comedy timing of "The Ritz Brothers", Al, Jimmy, and Harry, a great brother act, but always over shadowed by "The Marx Brothers", and listening to the singing of Don Ameche. Lionel Atwill portrayed "De Rochefort", "Cardinal Richelieu's" 
henchman, in actually a fairly good, 1939, version of French author Alexander Dumas', "The Three Musketeers",

The musical adventure film would lead Lionel Atwill to his third motion picture with Basil Rathbone, portraying "Dr. Mortimer", in British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's:

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES premiering in New York City on March 24, 1939

For my fellow "Sherlockians", my in depth look at the novel is "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES on the Motion Picture and Television Screens 1914-2016" at:

The following is a slightly revised version of the section of my article on this motion picture:

Released March 31, 1939 was an American Production from 20th Century Fox Studios that is still considered one of the best of the filmed versions of Conan Doyle's Tale. It was also the first of the fourteen pairings of Basil Rathbone as "Sherlock Holmes" and Nigel Bruce as "Dr. Watson".

Before I discuss the actual film I want to quote Rathbone from  his 1961 autobiography "In and Out of Character" pertaining to the role and his own popularity. According to the actor:
had I made but the one Holmes picture, my first, The Hound of the Baskervilles, I should probably not be as well known as I am today. But within myself, as an artist, I should have been well content. Of all the 'adventures' The Hound is my favorite story, and it was in this picture that I had the stimulating experience of creating, within my own limited framework, a character that has intrigued me as much as any I have ever played.
In 1935, Merian C. Cooper, 1933's, "King Kong", released his motion picture version of British author H. Rider Haggard's novel "SHE". In this picture, Nigel Bruce portrayed "Horace Holly", the companion of Randolph Scott's "Leo Vincey". Watch this movie, from four years before "The Hound of the Baskervilles", and you'll realize, as I have, that Bruce's, "Dr. John H. Watson", is the same character he portrayed in "SHE" as "Horace Holly".

The opening of 20th Century Fox's "The Hound of the Baskervilles" has "Sir Charles", portrayed by Ian Maclaren, being chased from Baskserville Hall by an unseen something. Next, the audience hears a dog howling and "Sir Charles" falls dead. The picture cuts to the coroner's inquest with all the main supporting characters in place They consist of "Dr, Mortimer", as I said above, portrayed by Lionel Atwill, his wife "Jennifer", portrayed by Beryl Mercer, "Mr, Frankland", portrayed by Barlowe Borland, "John (Jack) Stapleton", portrayed by Morton Lowery, "Beryl Stapleton", portrayed by Wendy Barrie, and in one of several changes to the story John Carradine portrays the Butler "Barryman" instead of "Barrymore" with Elly Malyon portraying his wife "Mrs. Barryman".

The next sequence introduces the audience to "Sherlock Holmes", portrayed by Basil Rathbone, "Dr. Watson", portrayed by Nigel Bruce, and "Mrs. Hudson", portrayed by Mary Gordon. Miss Gordon would portray the role in the two "20th Century Fox" films and all of the "Universal Pictures" series 

"Mrs. Hudson" tells "Holmes" and "Watson" about a visitor. She hands them the cane the visitor absentmindedly left on an end table. This leads directly to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic sequence in the novel, about "Holmes" and "Watson" deducing who their visitor is and what both the dedication plaque and teeth marks mean on the cane.

"Dr. Mortimer" arrives and tells the history of "Sir Hugo", portrayed by Ralph Forbes, and "The Hound of the Baskervilles". "Mortimer" adds that Canadian born "Henry Baskerville", portrayed by 21 year old Richard Greene, 16 years before he became television's "Robin Hood" for six years, is arriving and "Dr. Mortimer" fears for his life.

The above is followed by the audience being introduced to "Sir Henry Baskerville". Who talks about a shoe being taken from his hotel room.

For those unfamiliar with the story, "Sherlock Holmes" makes up an excuse to appear to remain in London and sends "Dr. Watson" with "Sir Henry" to his new estate. Here the screenplay, by Ernest Pascal, cuts the story to its bare bones so to speak.

"Sir Henry" and "Watson" meet both "Jack Stapleton" and his step sister "Beryl Stapleton". The relationship of the two changes in many of the upcoming versions. In Conan Doyle's original story, they are actually husband and wife. The reason here is this was 1930's Hollywood, the story required a somewhat "Happy Ending".

The romance between "Beryl" and "Sir Henry" happens in just two sequences. First as "Watson" comes upon the two, and in the second. "Watson" is informed by "Sir Henry" that the two are now engaged to be married.

Earlier in a quick sequence, "Sir Henry" and "Watson" hear a noise in the house, and observe "Barryman" at a window, looking toward the "Grimpen Mire", holding a candle.

The two spot another light, as if answering, out on the "Mire", and go and investigate. There a man throws a rock at them and runs away. We have no backstory to explain who he is and in the screenplay the role is only identified as a "Convict", portrayed by Nigel de Brulier.

Another sequence has "Mrs. Mortimer", a Spiritualist Medium, conducting a seance to reach "Sir Charles", but it is interrupted by the howling of the hound. For those who do not know the details of the life of  "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle". He had a deep belief in Spiritualism and incorporating that into this tale and some other works was his way of spreading the word that "Spirits" and "Ghosts" do exist.

After the incident with the convict. "Watson" and "Sir Henry" meet a strange beggar on "Grimpen Mire".

The beggar turns out to be "Holmes" and as he and "Watson" are talking, after this reveal, that "Sherlock Holmes" took the next train, and has been watching all the time. The howling of the hound is heard and they go to investigate. The two next see the hound push somebody off a cliff in an attack and discover the body of the convict wearing "Sir Henry's" clothing.

Hound of the Baskervilles 1939

At this point "Jack Stapleton" appears to offer assistance. He leaves after "Holmes" says he's not needed. Now the screenplay moves even faster. We quickly learn the convict was "Mrs. Barryman's brother. "Sherlock Holmes" notices a portrait of "Sir Hugo". He tells "Sir Henry" that everything is safe now that the convict is dead. He and "Watson" leave by train. 

On the train "Holmes" tells the other he needed to leave to permit the real killer to reveal himself. At the first train station the two will take another one and return to catch the killer. Putting "Sir Henry" in danger was the only way "Holmes" could get the proof he needed to arrest the man.

Next, after a diner party at the "Stapleton's", "Sir Henry" is attacked by the hound. "Holmes" and "Watson" arrive to shoot and kill the "Baskerville Hound". "Watson" is told to take "Sir Henry" home and treat his wounds. "Holmes" goes to investigate and discovers where someone has been keeping the animal. While inside the hound's lair somebody closes the trap door and locks the detective inside. "Holmes" starts using a pocket knife on the trap door.

While back at "Baskerville Hall" "Jack Stapleton" enters to tell "Watson" that "Holmes" needs him to go to the spot they found "Sir Henry". The doctor leaves and "Stapleton" attempts to poison the "Baskerville" heir by putting something in a class of water. Just then, "Holmes" walks in and deliberately causes the glass to spill its contents.

"Stapelton" knows "Sherlock Holmes" has figured out he's the killer. Using a gun to threaten everyone, escapes the room, only to bump into the returning and confused "Dr. Watson", but keeps moving toward the "Grimpen Mire". "Holmes" comes out of the house and blows a police whistle, telling his friend and companion that there are police all over awaiting his signal. There is no doubt "Jack Stapleton" will be caught.

The next sequence shows "Holmes", "Watson", "Sir Henry", "Beryl Stapleton", "Dr. Mortimer and his wife" and  the "Barryman's" together. As "Sherlock Holmes" explains what has been happening starting with the murder of "Sir Charles".

"Jack Stapleton" is actually a member of a branch of the "Baskerville" family and if "Sir Charles" and "Sir Henry" were killed by the legendary hound. "Jack Stapleton" could now reveal his relationship and claim the Estate and title. 

Showing the group the portrait of "Sir Hugo". "Holmes" places his hand above and below the eyes and everyone sees the resemblance of "Stapleton" to the "Baskerville" family.

With everything settled, "Sir Henry" is free to marry the non-related "Beryl Stapleton", the step sister angle used to set up the "Hollywood Happy Ending", and honeymoon in Canada.

After the above climatic sequence, Basil Rathone's "Sherlock Holmes" starts to exit the room and gives the film's closing line:
Oh Watson, the Needle
This was a sly way of screenplay writer Ernst Pascal, getting around the 1934 motion picture production code, and slipping in a reference to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes'" use of a SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION OF COCAINE as a means of "relaxing".

Lionel Atwill followed with a horror comedy starring "The Ritz Brothers" that wasn't funny at all. Just before shooting began at "20th Century Fox", the brothers lost their father and didn't show up on the first day of scheduled shooting and several of the following days. Instead of understanding, the studio sued them for breach of contract. Fourth-billed, Lionel Atwill, portrayed a wealthy man threatened by a killer known as "The Gorilla", because he wears a gorilla suit during his killing. He hires three bugling detectives played by the brothers. Fifth-billed, Bela Lugosi, in a role designed for Peter Lorre, had the best comic lines as Atwill's butler, delivering those lines, pun intended, deadpan!

Above left to right, Bela Lugosi, third-billed comedian, Patsy Kelly as "The Maid", and Lionel Atwill

Speaking of Peter Lorre, Lionel Atwill co-starred with him in 1939's, "Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation", seen below.

On April 24, 1939, "Warner Brothers" released their big budgeted "Juarez", about "Benito Juárez", portrayed by Paul Muni, and co-starring, Bette Davis as "Carlota of Belgium, Empress of Mexico".

Lionel Atwill was not in that major motion picture, but he was in:

THE MAD EMPRESS released on December 16, 1939

The two motion pictures were in a filming and release war. The "Warner Brothers" feature film was in production from November 1938 through February 8, 1939. Having heard of what the American studio was doing, producer, director, and co-writer, Miguel Contreras Torres, sought funding from both Mexico and Columbia for his biographical film, hoping to beat "Warner Brothers" into theaters. His production dates were January 1939 through February 27, 1939. 

However, what happened was that "Warner Brothers" "bought out" the motion picture to reduce their competition and increase their box office take. Then, in December 1939, "Warner Brothers" distributed the rival production and made more money.

Medea de Novara portrayed "Empress Carlotta of Mexico". She was a major Mexican actress, but she was born in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, in 1905. She passed away in 2001. Her film career from 1931 through 1946, only totaled eleven motion pictures, but she was married to the successful, Miguel Contreras Torres.

Conrad Nagel portrayed "Emperor Maximillian". Iowa born Nagel started his on-screen career in 1918 and ended it in 1967, with 148 different roles.

Above, Conrad Nagel is in the center of the picture. I could not identify the other two actors.

Jason Robards, Sr. billed as Jason Robards, portrayed "Benito Juarez". I can not verify as accurate, but the website "Imdb" has the actor listed in an unspecified role in the "Warner Brother's" production also. No photo available.

Lionel Atwill portrayed "General Bazaine", seen below.

"The Mad Empress", that title came from the actions of "Carlotta", after her husband was sentenced to be executed by the "Restored Mexican Republic", was followed by Lionel Atwill, co-starring with Sidney Toler portraying "Charlie Chan", in 1940's, "Charlies Chan in Panama". Which was the first of two pictures with Atwill, the second was 1940's, "Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise".  

Lionel Atwill had been cast in a low budget horror film from "Universal Pictures" that ran into a small roadblock. The title role had been written for Boris Karloff, but unexpectedly, he used his contractual power to refuse it. A search was made for a "Universal Pictures" contract actor to play the role and one was located, strictly because of his name.

MAN-MADE MONSTER aka: THE ATOMIC MONSTER released March 28, 1941

It took three writers to create the story, not the screenplay, for this 60-minute picture. This was the first film story written by Harry Essex billed as H.J. Essex. He would go on to co-write 1953's, "It Came from Outer Space", and 1954's, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon". This was the only feature film story for Sid Schwartz, and the third writer, Len Golos. 

The motion picture was directed by George Waggner. He would go on to direct 1941's, "The Wolf Man", and had started out as a "B" Western director in 1938. However, Waggner had been writing screenplays since 1932, mostly Westerns. The name of the on-screen credited screenplay writer for this motion picture was Joseph West, who actually was George Waggner. 

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Dr. Paul Rigas". Atwill had just been in 1940's, "The Great Profile", a comedy starring John Barrymore lampooning himself as a Hollywood actor.

Lon Chaney, Jr. had been given the Boris Karloff role. This was Lon's first Horror role, and he portrayed "Dan McCormick". Chaney had just been seen in director Cecil B. DeMille's, "Northwest Mounted Police", and followed this film co-starring in the Rudy Vallee and Helen Parish, comedy musical, 1941's, "Too Many Blondes". My article is "LON CHANEY, JR: 'OF MICE AND WEREWOLVES" at:

The Basic Screenplay:

The movie was about a gentle soul named Dan McCormick, known for appearing at carnival side shows as "Dynamo Dan", because of his act with electricity. There is a horrible bus accident involving electric power lines, "Dan" survived it, because he appears to be immune to electricity. Mad Scientist Dr. Paul Rigas, naturally sees him, and wants to use Dan as a basis to form an army of "Electrobiologically-driven Zombies”. Say that ten times fast. 

Things go wrong and Dan eventually kills several people and "Rigas", after he tried to turn the heroine, "June Lawrence", portrayed by Ann Nagel, into a female zombie. Nothing seems to be able to kill "Dan", but then his electrically charged body just runs out of energy and he dies.

In 1956, Lon Chaney, Jr. made the extremely similar "Indestructible Man", except that he starts out as a convict on death row.

On February 19, 1942, Lionel Atwill truly got to play against character in the role of "Rawitch, a ham actor", in director Ernst Lubitsch's classic satirical put down of Hitler and the Nazi's, "To Be or Not to Be", starring Carole Lombard and Jack Benny.

Above, the actors of the "Tura Acting Troop""Joseph Tura", was portrayed by Jack Benny, center, and "Maria Tura", was portrayed by Carole Lombard. To Jack's immediate left is Lionel Atwill portraying "Rawitch", and to Carole's immediate right is co-star Robert Stack portraying "Lieutenant Stanislav Sobinski".

Eight days after the release of "To Be or Not To Be", audiences saw Lionel Atwill back in the familiar, as "The Mad Doctor of Market Street", released on February 27, 1942.

From a mediocre horror movie to the next entry in a classic series:

THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN released on March 13, 1942

The story came from Eric Taylor, among his screenplays and story lines was co-writing 1940's, "Black Friday",  and 1942's, "The Black Cat".  He would also co-write both 1943's, "Phantom of the Opera", and "Son of Dracula".

The actual screenplay was by W. Scott Darling, who had started with silent movie scenarios in 1914. Darling had been working on detective thrillers for the characters of "Charlie Chan" and "Mr. Wong", but this was his first horror screenplay.

The motion picture was directed by Earl C. Kenton, who started directing in 1919. Among his films is the 1932 version of H.G. Wells', "Island of Dr. Moreau", under the film title of "Island of Lost Souls". Kenton would direct the two "House of--" films in the "Frankenstein" series.

Lon Chaney, no "Junior" used anymore, portrayed "The Frankenstein Monster". He had just been seen in the Alaska Western, 1942, "North to the Klondike", and followed this motion picture another Western, 1942's, "Overland Mail".

Sir Cedric Hardwicke portrayed both "Ludwig Frankenstein" and "The Ghost of Frankenstein". Which is not the monster as the title seems to imply, but "Henry Frankenstein", the father of "Wolf" and "Ludwig".
Note Two Points:
1. A brother to "Wolf von Frankenstein" is never implied in 1939's, "Son of Frankenstein". Either by that film's title, or in the dialogue.  
2. Once again, there is no "Von" as part of the "Frankenstein" name as in that previous motion picture.

Above, Sir Cedric Hardwicke as "The Ghost of Frankenstein".

Ralph Bellamy portrayed "Erik Ernest", below right. He had just co-starred with Lon Chaney in the classic 1941 horror film, "The Wolf Man". Bellamy followed this motion picture co-starring with Irene Duane in the 1942 comedy, "Lady in a Jam".

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Dr. Theodore Bohmer". 

Bela Lugosi portrayed "Ygor". Bela was back as the shepherd the villagers of "Frankenstein" had botched their hanging of, only breaking his neck to heal grotesquely. Also, he was shot and killed by "Wolf von Frankenstein" in the previous movie.

Above, Lionel Atwill and Bela Lugosi.

Evelyn Ankers portrayed "Elsa Frankenstein", the characters name in the previous film was "Elsa von Frankenstein". This was Evelyn Ankers third movie in a row with Lon Chaney, the first was 1941's, "The Wolf Man", also with Ralph Bellamy, followed by 1942's, "North to the Klondike". My article about the wife of actor Richard Denning is "Evelyn Ankers and Her 1940's Horror Films From Universal Pictures" at:

Above, Evelyn Ankers with Sir Cedric Hardwicke

I have to mention one of the uncredited actors in this feature film. Who was just portraying "A Villager", this was Dwight Frye. He had been so important to both "Universal Pictures", 1931, "Dracula" and "Frankenstein", and had a small, but important role in 1935's, "Bride of Frankenstein". 

In the following picture Dwight Frye is the villager wearing glasses on the far right. In 1933, he was reduced to the role of "A Reporter", in "The Invisible Man", in 1939's, "Son of Frankenstein", he is unconfined as being in the picture. My article is "DWIGHT FRYE: Overlooked Horror Icon", at:

The Basic Screenplay:

The villagers of "Frankenstein" feel they're under a curse caused by "Henry Frankenstein's" monster, revived by "Wolf von Frankenstein", and the mayor permits them to burn down the "Frankenstein Castle". It should be noted that in the first two films there is no castle, but a manor house with an old watch tower next to used by "Henry" for his experiments. In the third film, suddenly "Wolf" arrives at what should still be the manor house, but it appears to be some kind of German expressionist home with castle like looks. While in this film, "Ludwig" lives in a chateau. 

The villagers action uncovers the "Frankenstein Monster" in the dried up sulfur pit from the previous picture's ending. He is discovered by 'Ygor", who still being alive had frightened the villagers away from the ruins. A bolt of lighting hits the monster and "Ygor" makes the decision to take him to the second son of "Henry Frankenstein", "Ludwig".

"Ludwig Frankenstein" and his two assistants, "Dr. Kettering", portrayed by Baron Yarborough, and "Dr. Bohmer", have a very successful practice in Visaria, but "Bohmer" is envious of "Ludwig" his student that now has surpassed him.

The monster gets away from "Ygor", befriends a little girl, "Closestine Hussman", portrayed by Janet Ann Gallow, whose ball ended up on the roof of a building. He picks up "Closestine" to take her to the ball, but two villagers intervene concerned for her safety. As a result, the misunderstanding monster kills the two men. 

"Closestine" asks the monster to take her down, he does, and returns her to her father. The police arrest the monster and the town prosecutor, "Erik Ernst", goes to "Ludwig Frankenstein" to get the doctor to examine the captured giant. Before he gets to the prisoner, "Ygor" informs "Ludwig" that the "Giant" is actually the creature his father created. "Ygor" implores "Ludwig" to heal the monster's brain and body, but is refused. The shepherd now threatens to reveal the truth about "Ludwig Frankenstein's" family to the villagers.

At the police station a hearing over the two men's death is about to convene when "Ludwig" and 'Ygor" arrive. "Ludwig" refuses to acknowledge his father's creation, in a rage the monster breaks free and is led out of the station by "Ygor".

Now events move swiftly in the story:

"Ludwig's" daughter, "Elsa", who is in love with "Erik", finds her grandfather's journals and learns the truth of her heritage. As she reads them, "Elsa" sees both the monster and "Ygor" at the window. The two break into her father's laboratory and "Dr. Kettering" is killed. The monster captures "Elsa", but using knockout gas, "Ludwig" is able to free his daughter. "Ludwig" next fully tranquilizes the monster and asks "Dr. Bohmer" for help dissecting it, but "Bohmer" responds saying it would be murder.

While studying his father's journals, "Ludwig" is visited by "The Ghost of Henry Frankenstein". The ghost implores his son to provide the monster with a good brain and "Ludwig" thinks of "Dr. Kettering's". "Ygor" tells "Ludwig" to use his brain instead, but is refused. 

While "Elsa" tells her father to stop this experiment and destroy the monster as he originally intended. The deranged shepherd tells "Bohmer" he should not be subordinate to "Ludwig" and promises his help should "Dr. Bohmer" place his brain in the monster.

Just then the police arrive at "Ludwig's" home looking for the monster, but do not find it. The monster is in the village and kidnaps his friend "Cloestine" and returns to "Ludwig's" indicating to him and "Elsa" that he wants her brain in his body.


Meanwhile, "Cloestine's" father has told the villagers of his daughter's kidnapping and they're on the way to "Ludwig's". "Erik" arrives and "Ludwig" takes him to the monster who is on an operating table with "Dr, Bohmer" near by. The monster gets up and speaks to "Ludwig" and "Erik's" surprise with "Ygor's" voice.

The villagers arrive and start to enter the chateau. In the laboratory the "Ygor-Monster" commands "Dr. Bohmer" to fill the chateau with gas to kill everyone in it. "Ludwig" attempts to stop the "Ygor-Monster", but is instead mortally wounded by it. A the same moment the 
Ygor-Monster" goes blind, because as "Ludwig" tells "Dr. Bohmer", the shepherd's blood type was not a match with his father's creation. The enraged monster now grabs "Bohmer" and tosses him onto an electrical panel, electrocuting the doctor and setting the chateau on fire.

"Ludwig" and his father's creation will die in the fire as "Elsa" and "Erik" walk away from her heritage in the final scene of "Universal Picture's" actually connected "Frankenstein" series.

How to make a low budget movie without a screenplay was the next film with the actor.

THE STRANGE CASE OF DOCTOR RX premiered in New York City on March 27, 1942

The following paragraph comes from the website, "The Telltale Mind", 

The Strange Case of Doctor Rx is an odd little film, marketed as a horror picture and yet it is more of a mystery-thriller than anything else. Even if you were in the audience when this film was released, you would not find it the least bit frightening. In fact, you actually get more laughs out of this film than you do scares and it is a little boggling to watch this movie as it moves from one genre to the next and back again. Still, it is a lot of fun and director William Nigh makes the material go down easy with some solid performances from the cast and a steady pace that never lets the movie feel boring or overlong.

The story the screenplay was based upon came from the uncredited Alex Gottlieb, but the actual screenplay was written by Clarence Upson Young. Who never finished it and the actors had to ab-lib the majority of their lines. 

According to Tom Weaver in his 2004, "It Came from Hollywood: Interviews with Movie Makers in the SF and Horror Tradition", actress Anne Gwynne, 1941's, "The Black Cat", in an interview with Weaver prior to her death in 2003, stated that making this film without a written screenplay was just:

fun, fun, fun, 

 however, she added that the:

 ad-libbing left many plot holes.


Above, Ann Gwynne portraying "Kit Logan Church".

Patrick Knowles portrayed "Detective Jerry Church". I'll be speaking in more detail about the actor shortly.

Above, think of "Jerry Church" and his bickering wife and mystery writer, "Kit Church", as a low budget version of of William Powell and Myna Loy's, "Nick and Nora Charles", of the continuing "Thin Man" movie series. 

The plot revolves around a lawyer whose clients he defended in court and getting them off, but are being murdered later by the mysterious "Doctor RX".

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Dr. Fish". He would follow this picture with the action adventure cliff-hanger, "Junior G-Men of the Air", portraying "The Baron".

Samuel L. Hinds portrayed lawyer, "Dudley Crispin". Hinds had last been seen in the Bud Abbott and Lou Costello comedy, 1942's, "Ride'Em Cowboy". The actor followed this film with the Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott, and John Wayne, 1942, "The Spoilers".

Above, Samuel L. Hinds with solid "B" actress, Mona Barrie as his wife, "Eileen Crispin". 

Shemp Howard portrayed "Detective Sergeant Sweeney". Known more for taking over for his brother Jerome "Curly" Howard after he passed away, as part of "The Three Stooges", with other brother Moe Howard, and cousin Larry Fine. Shemp still appeared in many excellent comedy movies not related to the "Stooges".

Above, Shemp Howard, standing, with Edmund MacDonald portraying "Detective Captain Bill Hurd".

I want to point out two uncredited actors:

Mary Gordon portrayed "Mrs. Scott". You probably missed her as "Hans Wife" in director James Whales', 1935, "The Bride of Frankenstein", but starting with the 1939, "Hound of the Baskervilles", as I previously mentioned, Mary Gordon portrayed the housekeeper, "Mrs. Hudson", in both of "20th Century Fox's" "Sherlock Holmes" films, and all of the "Universal Pictures" series.

Ray "Crash" Corrigan portrayed "Nbongo the Gorilla", "B" Cowboy actor Corrigan played many a gorilla type animal in 1930's and 1940's films, including Johnny Weissmueller's, "Tarzan" and Buster Crabbe's "Flash Gordon". However, he was also one of the original "Three Mesquiteers", co-starring at different times with John Wayne, Bob Livingston, and Tom Tyler among others replacing them in their roles. Ray Corrigan also "was", 1958's, "It, the Terror from Beyond  Space", and he owned the "Corriganville Movie Ranch", in Simi Valley, California.

Above, "Doctor RX" pushing Patrick Knowles by Ray Corrigan, because the doctor wants to transplant his brain into the gorilla. Below, left to right, Corrigan, Max Terhune, and John Wayne in a "Three Mesquiteer's" entry.

For those "B" Western fans, my article is "An Overview of 'THE THREE MESQUITEERS': A Classic 'B' Western Series" at:

In the end, Lionel Atwill's, "Dr. Fish", is the red herring of the story and has been working with Patrick Knowles's "Jerry Church" to catch Samuel Hinds' attorney, "Dudley Crispin". Who wants the criminals he defends in court and gets them off at their trials, to face justice. 

Hollywood Scandal's make good press, the following is from the British newspaper "The Guardian".

On August 7, 1942, Lionel Atwill portrayed "Varnoff" in the Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, and Virginia Bruce comedy, "Pardon My Sarong".

On August 17, 1942, Lionel Atwill found himself cast as a "Teutonic Gentleman" in the Jeanette MacDonald, Robert Young, and Ethel Waters musical "Cairo".

While Lionel Atwill's motion picture roles seemed to be shrinking, his court room role came to a climax. As the following newspaper clipping from the "Los Angeles Times", dated October 15, 1942, told.

Five days later, another low budget "Universal Pictures" horror entry opened with another interesting contract players cast, but also a very well written screenplay.

NIGHT MONSTER released on October 20, 1942

The motion picture was in the good hands of director Ford Beebe, who started in the silents in 1916 as both a writer and director of primarily "B" Westerns that would not stop until 1959.  His work as a director, also included the Harry Carey, 1932, version of American author James Fenimore Cooper's, "The Last of the Mohicans", the 1936 flying cliff-hanger, "Ace Drummond", written by First World War Ace, Eddie Rickenbacker, both the Buster Crabbe, 1936 cliff-hanger, "Flash Gordon", and 1938's, "Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars", and the Bela Lugosi's, 1939, cliff-hanger, "The Phantom Creeps".

Clarence Upson Young wrote the story and screenplay.

Bela Lugosi portrayed "Rolf". He had just been seen in 1942's, "The Corpse Vanishes", and followed this motion picture with 1942's, "Bowery at Midnight".

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Dr. King". 

Irene Hervey portrayed "Dr. Lynne Harper". Hervey started on-screen acting in 1933, her work includes the classic, 1934, Robert Donat version of French author Alexander Dumas', "The Count of Monte Cristo", directed by Roland V. Lee, the 1936 version of "The Three Godfathers", starring Chester Morris, Lewis Stone, and Walter Brennan. Most people only know the John Ford and John Wayne version of "The Three Godfathers", Irene Hervey's motion picture is part of my article "The Three Godfathers": A Christmas Allegory Interpreted By John Ford, William Wyler, Richard Boleslawski and Edward Le Saint"

Irene Hervey was also in, 1939's, "Destry Rides Again", starring Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart.

Above, Irene Hervey with Don Porter, who portrayed "Dick Baldwin". Porter was known to 1950's and 1960's television audiences for two programs with actress Ann Southern, "Private Secretary", 1953-1957, and the "Ann Southern Show", 1959-1961. Along with portraying Sally Fields' father on televisions "Gidget", 1965-1966.

Leif Erickson billed as Leif Erikson, portrayed "Laurie". Erickson starred on televisions "The High Chaparral", 1967-1971, among his other motion pictures are the Greta Garbo and Charles Boyer, 1937, "Conquest", about "Napoleon", and 1942's, "Pardon My Sarong". Classic science fiction fans know the actor as the father in 1953's, "Invaders from Mars".

Above, left to right, Don Porter, Irene Hervey, and Leif Erickson

Ralph Morgan portrayed "Kurt Ingston". Always confused with his brother Frank Morgan of 1939's, "The Wizard of Oz". Ralph had just been seen in 1942's, "A Gentleman After Dark", and followed this feature film with 1942's, "Hitler's Madman", starring John Carradine as real-life Reinhardt Heydrich, considered the principle architect of the Holocaust.

Nils Asther portrayed "Aga Singh". Swedish born Asther was just in the 1942 musical comedy, "Sweater Girl", and followed this horror film by co-starring with Richard Arlen and Wendy Barrie, in the Second World War spy thriller, 1943's, "Submarine Alert". 

Left to right, Don Porter, Nils Asther, and Ralph Morgan

The Basic Screenplay:

This is a very good who, or "what" done it thriller. The critics split on the story and acting, but "Leonard Maltin's Classic Film Guide" described the picture as an: intriguing grade-B thriller

Around a small town is an area of swamp bordering the home of a leg and armless recluse named "Kurt Ingston", who uses a wheelchair pushed by "Laurie". A series of mysterious murders have taken place in town and on the swamp.

Just arriving at "Kurt Ingston's" house, are the three invited doctors, who had tried to cure him of an unknown illness, when a paralysis set in resulting the amputation of his arms and legs. Already at the household are his butler, "Rolf", his chauffeur "Laurie", a mannish housekeeper, "Miss Sarah Judd", portrayed by Doris Lloyd, Eastern mystic, "Agar Singh", and "Margaret Ingston", portrayed by Fay Helm, alleged to be mentally ill. While at the front gate, apparently guarding it from unwanted intruders is a hunchback named "Torque", portrayed by Cyril Delavanti.

Unexpected by "Kurt" is the arrival of "Dr. Lynne Harper", invited by "Margaret Ingston", to help prove she is not insane and as a means to escape her brother and "Miss Judd's" control of her. Accompanying "Dr. Harper" is her boyfriend, mystery writer "Dick Baldwin".

Following diner, which it becomes obvious that "Kurt Ingston" blames the three doctors for the loss of his arms and legs. "Ager Singh" demonstrates his mystic abilities by materializing a skeleton. 

Above, Ralph Morgan, Francis Pierlot portraying "Dr. Phipps", and "Lionel Atwill". 

Below, left to right Frank Reicher portraying "Dr. Timmons", Leif Erickson, Ralph Morgan, Francis Pierlot, and Lionel Atwill.

Next, one by one the three doctors are murdered, but by who, or what? The answer is, of course, the armless and legless "Kurt Ingston", through what "Agaer Singh" taught him, growing new legs and arms.

For his next feature, Lionel Atwill moved from a minor doctor to "THE NAPOLEON OF CRIME!"

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SECRET WEAPON premiering in Los Angeles on December 25, 1942

Loosely based upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story, "The Dancing Men". 

Adapted from that story and written into a screenplay by both Edward T. Lowe, Jr., and Scott Darling. The screenplay was further worked upon by Edmund L. Hartmann.

The feature film was directed by Roy William Neill. Neill would direct the last eleven of the "Universal Pictures", "Sherlock Holmes" series.

Basil Rathbone portrayed "Sherlock Holmes". He had just portrayed the role in the first of the series that was directed by John Rawlins, 1942's, "Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror". He would follow this motion picture with the third in the series, 1943's, "Sherlock Holmes in Washington.

Nigel Bruce portrayed "Dr. John H. Watson, M.D.". Bruce had just appeared in 1942's, "Journey for Margaret", starring Robert Young and Laraine Day. He would follow this feature film with 1943's, "Sherlock Holmes in Washington".

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Professor James Moriarty" spelled in this screenplay as "Moriarity". 

Karen Verne, billed by her Berlin born name Kaaren Verne, she fled Germany with the rise of the Nazi's in 1938, portrayed "Charlotte Eberli". She had just appeared in the John Rawlings directed 1942, "The Great Impersonation", after appearing in the major, Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, Ronald Reagan, and Betty Field, motion picture, 1942, "Kings Row".

William Post, Jr. portrayed "Dr. Franz Tobel". He should have been seen in 1942's, "Pierre of the Plains", before this picture, but his scenes were deleted. So, the comedy drama mystery, 1942's. "Pacific Rendezvous" moved up a position in his career. Post, Jr. followed this feature with seventh-billing in the 1943, version of author John Steinbeck's "The Moon Is Down", starring Sir Cedric Hardwicke.

Dennis Hoey portrayed "Scotland Yard Inspector Lestrade". This was Hoey's first of six appearances as "Lestrade". "Universal Pictures" cast Dennis Hoey as a Scotland Yard Inspector exactly like "Lestrade", in 1943's, "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man", and in the 1946, "The She Wolf of London". Immediately prior to this motion picture Hoey was "Colonel Woodhue", in the comedy drama musical, 1942's, "Cairo", starring Jeanette McDonald, Robert Young, and Ethel Waters.

Mary Gordon portrayed, for her fourth time, "Mrs. Hudson". She was just seen in the criminal mystery, 1942's, "The Boss of Big Town". 

The Basic Screenplay:

The story opens in Switzerland with a disguised "Sherlock Holmes" pretending to be a Nazi spy to get "Dr. Franz Tobel", a scientist who has invented a superior bombsight, out of the country under the eyes of the Nazi's.

Above left, the uncredited Paul Fix portraying "Mueller", Basil Rathbone, and the uncredited Rudolph Anders portraying "Braun". 

Paul Fix started on-screen acting in 1925, and was a friend of "B" Cowboy star, Harry Carey, Sr. Fix and Carey were drinking buddies with director John Ford. Paul Fix was also a member of the  "John Ford Stock Company", but is known more for portraying "Marshal Micah Torrance" on televisions "The Rifleman", 1958-1963. My article, "PAUL FIX: The Character Actor Who Taught John Wayne To Walk", may be read at:

Escaping from pursuing Gestapo, "Holmes" and "Tobel" make it to the airport and fly out of Switzerland to England. There, "Sherlock Holmes" places "Franz" under the watchful eye of "Dr. John H. Watson, M.D." at 221-B Baker Street. However, against the instructions of "Holmes", "Franz" slips away to meet his fiancée "Charlotte Eberli" at her apartment and gives "Charlotte" a secret coded message to give to "Sherlock Holmes", should anything happen to him. As he leaves her apartment, German spies attempt to capture "Franz", but a passing London Bobby foils their attempt. 

The uncredited role of the London Bobby was portrayed by actor Whit Bissell in his second on-screen appearance. In 1954, character actor Bissell was in "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", "The Caine Mutiny", "Target Earth", and "The Atomic Kid". In 1956, he was in "The Framing Scenes" for "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". Next, he turned Michael Landon into the title role in 1957's, "I Was a Teenage Werewolf", and later that year was "Dr. Frankenstein" in "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein". While 1960 saw Whit Bissell in both the original "The Magnificent Seven" and producer George Pal's version of British author H. G. Wells' "The Time Machine".

"Tobel" successfully demonstrates his bombsight to RAF bomber command and "Sir Reginald Bailey", portrayed by Holmes Herbert. 

"Franz Tobel" is put under the protection of Scotland Yard and specifically "Inspector Lestrade". "Tobel" makes "Sir Reginald" understand that although he will produce his bombsight for the allies, he alone will oversee its manufacturing in a secret location. "Franz" separates the manufacturing of the bombsight between four-scientists, each unknown to the other, and only when the four parts are assembled, does the actual bombsight exist. However, shortly after the plan is put into effect, "Sherlock Holmes" receives a call from "Lestrade", "Franz Tobel" has disappeared! "Holmes" goes to "Charlotte Eberli's" flat and is given the envelope from "Tobel".

Instead of the coded message, inside is a message from "Professor Moriarty", who is now working with the Nazi's. Disguising himself as one of the professor's old henchmen, "Ram Singh", "Holmes" starts searching the Soho district for information. He runs into two other of "Moritary's" henchmen, "Peg Leg", portrayed by Harold De Becker, and "Jack Brady", portrayed by Harry Cording, but is captured by "Professor Moriarty".

"Sherlock Holmes" is placed into an empty sea chest with a false bottom, but is rescued by "Dr. Watson" and "Inspector Lestrade" after observing "Peg Leg" and "Jack Brady" struggling with what should be an easy lift and carry.

"Holmes" returns to "Charlotte's" flat and looking around, finally sees impressions left upon the notepad that "Franz" used to write the original message. He brings the message out, by first immersing the paper in fluorescent salts and then photographing the page using ultraviolet light. On the paper is a extremely clever substitution cipher, "The Dancing Men", and "Sherlock Holmes" is able to break the first three lines, the locations of three of the scientists, but not the fourth line.

Next, "Holmes" learns that the professor has murdered all three scientists and stolen their parts of the bombsight, but like "Sherlock Holmes", "Professor Moriarty" hasn't been able to break "Franz Tobel's" fourth line and the location of the fourth scientist. "Moriarty" has captured the missing "Tobel" and is attempting to torture him for that information.

Working throughout the night, "Holmes" finally breaks the fourth line and discovers the name of the fourth scientist, "Professor Frederick Hoffner", portrayed by Henry Victor. Meanwhile, "Professor Moriarty" discovers the change in the fourth lines cipher and sends his henchmen to bring "Professor Hoffner" to him.

Two things now occur, the first is "Dr. Watson" has attached dripping luminous paint to the henchmen's car after they arrived to capture "Professor Hoffner". The second is that when "Professor Moriarty" meets "Professor Hoffner", who also can assemble the bombsight, he is looking at "Sherlock Holmes" in disguise.

All leading to "Watson" and "Lestrade", following the luminous paint trail, to "Moriarty's" location.

Where, to stall for time, "Sherlock Holmes" lets himself be captured, and tricks "Professor Moriarty" into bleeding him to death, drop by drop. "Watson" and "Lestrade" arrive with the police, the spies are captured, "Frank Tobel" rescued, and "Professor Moriarty" starts to escape by entering his secret passageway. Only, to fall sixty-feet to his death, as "Holmes" had already discovered the "Professor's" trap door, and left it open in the dark.

Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, and Lionel Atwill were reunited when:


Curt Siodmak had written the screenplay for 1941's, "The Wolf Man", and, contrary to some beliefs, created the poem saying that, "Even a Man Who is Pure of Heart and Says His Prayers By Night, May Become a Wolf When the Wolfbane Blooms, and the Autumn Moon is Full and Bright!"

Now, Siodmak found himself uniting two "Universal Pictures" classic monsters in one screenplay as a result of a joke he made to producer George Waggner in the "Universal Pictures" lunch room. Waggner had produced and directed 1941's, "The Wolf Man". Now he wanted a sequel to "The Wolf Man", the uninterested Curt Siodmak joked the title, "Frankenstein Wolfs the Meat Man". 
To Siodmak's dismay, Waggner liked the idea of combining Frankenstein's monster with their Wolf Man.

My article about the Siodmak brothers, writer and director, together they made 1943's, "Son of Dracula", is CURT and ROBERT SIODMAK: Horror and Film Noir" at:

Director Roy William Neill had just directed Rathbone and Bruce in 1943's, "Sherlock Holmes in Washington". He followed this horror story with a musical adventure comedy, 1943's, "Rhythm of the Islands", starring popular singer Alan Jones.

Before I go into the cast, it is time I mentioned one name and link his story to this article. He is "Jack P. Pierce the Man Who Created Monsters", the make-up artist's story is found at:

Lon Chaney was back as "Lawrence 'Larry' Talbot" aka: "The Wolf Man". Initially, producer George Waggner, wanted Lon to portray both title roles, but that idea was dropped. He had just portrayed "Kharis", for the first time, in 1942's, "The Mummy's Tomb", and followed this motion picture with ninth-billing, in director Ford Beebe's, 1943 "B" Western, "Frontier Badman", starring Robert Paige and Anne Gwynne.

Ilona Massey portrayed "Baroness Elsa Frankenstein". The Hungarian born actress had just starred, with first billing, in 1942's, "The Invisible Agent", story and screenplay by Curt Siodmak. Who turned H.G. Wells' "The Invisible Man" into a British spy in Germany. The film co-starred Jon Hall, Peter Lorre, and Sir Cedric Hardwicke.

Patric Knowles portrayed "Dr. Frank Mannering". Leeds, England, born Knowles, had just been seen in a motion picture project by Sir Cedric Hardwicke to honor the homeland spirit of those British actors and actresses in the United States. The project, 1943's, "Forever and a Day", had seven directors including Hardwicke, twenty-two writers, and fifty-six major actors in speaking roles, to tell a story set in England and spanning 140-years of its history.

Lionel Atwill portrayed "The Mayor" in the second part of the story. He had a great time with a role well against character, unfortunately I could not locate many photos of the actor for this part of my article.

Bela Lugosi portrayed the "Frankenstein Monster". Bela hated this role, because at the end of 1942's, "The Ghost of Frankenstein", the monsters went blind and Lon Chaney started that walk with his hands stretched out in front as a blind man might walk and now Lugosi was stuck copying Chaney's walk per the director and producers requirement.

Maria Ouspenskaya portrayed "Maleva", the role she portrayed in 1941's, "The Wolf Man". Ouspenskaya had just co-starred with Patric Knowles and Maria Montez in 1942', "The Mystery of Marie Roget". Her next film role was in 1945's, "Tarzan and the Amazons", starring Johnny Weissmuller and Brenda Joyce.

Left to right, Patric Knowles, Ilona Massey, and Maria Ouspenskaya

Dennis Hoey portrayed "Detective Owen". London born Hoey, was just in 1943's, "Forever and a Day". He followed this picture with 1943's, "They Came to Blow Up America", starring George Sanders and Ward Bond.

Left to right, Dennis Hoey, Patric Knowles, and Lon Chaney

The Basic Screenplay:

How good is your hearing?

In the opening sequence of the film. When the older of the two grave robbers discovers the Wolfbane in "Larry Talbot's" coffin. He then recites the poem from 1941's, "The Wolf Man":

Even a man who is pure in heart, And says his prayers by night, May become a wolf when the Wolfbane blooms, and the Autumn Moon is Bright!

EXCEPT: The second line had been changed by Curt Siodmak to:
The way Curt Siodmak sets up the story, the picture has two distinct parts. The first is a direct sequel to his screenplay for "The Wolf Man". While the second begins as a direct sequel to 1942's "The Ghost of Frankenstein".

Overview of Part One:

It is four-years after the events of "The Wolf Man", even though it's only two-years since that picture. 

The grave robbers remove some of the wolfsbane around the face of "Lawrence Talbot". Next the audience expected sequence takes place. When the moon shines on his face, "Larry", once again, becomes a werewolf and kills one of the two men.

Next, he is found unconscious on a street in Cardiff, with the head wound caused by his father using the silver wolf headed cane at the end of "The Wolf Man". To the police who find him, it seems "Larry" had been attacked that night, and he is taken to the hospital and the care of "Dr. Manning". During the full moon, "Lawrence Talbot" kills a police constable and returns to the hospital. The following morning he remembers everything and tells both "Dr. Manning" and "Detective Owen".

"Owen" leaves and when he returns tells "Larry" that "Lawrence Talbot" died four-years ago and wants to know who he really is? This causes "Talbot" to become violent, hospital orderlies overcome him, and he is tied with leather straps to his bed.

Not believing "Larry's" story, both "Dr. Mannering" and "Detective Owen" travel to the village of 
Llanwelly, and the "Talbot Estate". While, "Larry" turns into "The Wolf Man", bites through his bonds and escapes looking for the one person who will believe him, "Maleva".

"Mannering" and "Owen" discover the empty "Talbot" crypt with one of the grave robbers bodies mutilated like the police constable. 

"Larry" finds "Maleva" and she has heard of a "Dr. Frankenstein" who might help him and the two leave for the village of Vasaria.

End of Part One, Overview of Part Two:

Arriving in Vasaria, under the influence of the full moon, "Lawrence Talbot" transforms into a werewolf and kills a young woman. As "The Wolf Man", he is chased by a mob to the ruins of "Frankenstein's Castle/Chateau" and falls through the floorboards to an ice bound cellar. Morning comes, and "Larry" starts to look around and discovers frozen in ice, the "Frankenstein Monster". Next, "Larry" sets to free it with the hope it will lead him to "Frankenstein's" notes.

The monster cannot locate the actual notes, so leaving him at the castle ruins. "Larry" goes to "Baroness Elsa Frankenstein", the daughter of "Henry Frankenstein's" son, "Ludwig", and poses as a potential buyer of the "Frankenstein" estate. This does not work, but the "Mayor" seeing them together, invites the pair to the "Festival of the New Wine". There, they are joined by "Dr. Mannering", who attempts to convince "Larry" he needs to commit himself to a mental institution for care.

The festival is interrupted by the arrival of the "Frankenstein Monster" looking for "Larry". "Larry" gets it into a cart and he drives the monster back to the ruins of the "Frankenstein" castle. "Dr. Manning" and "Elsa Frankenstein" agree with the Mayor and the villagers that the monster needs to be killed, but ask to let the two of them destroy it.

The following morning "Baroness Elsa Frankenstein" presents "Dr. Manning" with her grandfather's journal and notes, at a meeting with "Maleva", and "Larry".

"Larry" asks that his energy be transferred into the monster with the hope it will help change its nature, but what "Larry Talbot" doesn't know is that "Dr. Mannering" and "Elsa" plan to drain both of them of their lives.

Meanwhile, the innkeeper, "Vazec", portrayed by Rex Evans, whose daughter was killed by the monster, plans to blow up the dam beside the ruins. Like others in the next two "Frankenstein" entries, "Dr. Manning" forgets his mission and wants to see the monster at full strength, thus horrifying "Elsa". However, the moon comes out and shines in a window as "Larry Talbot" transforms. Both "Frankenstein's" monster and the werewolf break their bonds and the monster starts to carry "Elsa" away, but the werewolf attacks freeing her.

The dam is blown and the water rushes toward the ruins, "Elsa" and "Dr. Mannering" just escape as the rushing water sweeps the "Frankenstein Monster" and "The Wolf Man" away.

The following is revised from my article "America's Super Heroes VS the Axis Powers in World War 2 Cliff Hangers" found at:

In 1944, it was still "Timely Comics", not "Marvel Comics", and "Republic Pictures" brought a popular comic book to life, but with major changes.

CAPTAIN AMERICA Chapter One was released on February 5, 1944

Any reader of "Timely Comics" in 1944, soon to be sold to "Marvel Comics", knew about "Steve Rogers". How he wanted to join the military, but was turned down over and over again, because he wasn't physically fit for military service. They knew how "Rogers" became part of the "Super Soldier" program and that "Captain America" was created to fight the Nazi's. These same readers also knew about "Rogers" friendship with the young "James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes".

"Republic Pictures" dropped all reference to the "Timely Comics" character, and now, "Captain America", was a local city "District Attorney" named "Grant Gardner", portrayed by Dick Purcell.

The character of "Bucky Barnes" was dropped, and instead, the audience had the Cliff-hangers heroine, in "Grant Garner's secretary Gail Richards", portrayed by Lorna Gray, below with Dick Purcell.

With the changes to the main characters, instead of portraying a Nazi Spy Ring Leader, such as "The Red Skull". This screenplay had Lionel Atwill portraying "Dr. Cyrus Maldor aka: the Scarab". Who is behind a rash of suspicious suicides among some top scientists and business leaders.

Seven writers apparently worked on the screenplay, Royale K. Cole, Ronald Davidson, Basil Dickey, Jesse Duffy, Harry L. Fraser, Grant Nelson, and Joseph F. Poland. The reason for the extreme changes they made in the characters, according to "Republic Pictures", was that the studio was never told who "Captain America" was by "Timely Comics". So, they let the seven screenplay writers create their story. Sounds a little far fetched, but that is the official story.

Because, the credits state the screenplay is based upon the character appearing in "Captain America Comics", by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.

James "Jim" Judson Harmon was a "Golden Age of Radio" and cultural historian and Donald F. Glut is best known for his novelization of "The Empire Strikes Back", but is also a science fiction writer and historian. The two had another explanation for what "Republic Pictures" did to "Captain America"

We have to go back to the 1940 serial "The Mysterious Doctor Satan" and the character of "Bob Wayne", who is seeking justice against "Dr. Satan" over the death of his step-father and disguises himself as the crime fighter "The Copperhead". The two film historians believe that originally the script for "Captain America" was the shelved sequel screenplay for the return of "Bob Wayne" as the "Cooperhead". After acquiring the film rights to the "Timely Comics" character and just changing the names and minor plot points in the "Bob Wayne" already written screenplay saved the studio money and might explain the large number of writers.


Then there is another story that the script was really to have been "Superman", but "Republic Pictures" lost out to "Paramount Pictures" in obtaining that character, because that studio already had the Max Fleischer Studio's cartoon series going. Interesting in hindsight as "Paramount" would eventually purchase "Republic Studios".

Of course it could be also argued against that story, because when the character of "Superman" came to the live motion picture screens. It was in a 1948, 15-Chapter Serial, from "Columbia Pictures" not "Paramount". However, Max Fleischer did provide the animated flying sequences. My article on the character is
"SUPERMAN, SUPERBOY, SUPERGIRL: Their Origins and Beginnings in Motion Pictures and Television" at:

So, in short, only those who were at "Republic Pictures" at the time, might know the true story, and unless some document turns up, we will never know for sure.

According to the screenplay, the motivation for all of these murders is revenge, because "Dr. Maldor" feels he was the one that should have gotten the fame for the discovery of a Mayan ruin that the others claim as discovering. There is also a machine called the "Dynamic Vibrator", designed to make ore mining easier, but could be turned into an Earthquake causing weapon. For 15-Chapters, "Captain America" is attempting to capture the "Scarab" without knowing he is "Dr. Maldor". Who at times seems to help "Grant Gardner" to avoid his own detection.

Next, Lionel Atwill co-starred in a solid crime film-noir, 

LADY IN THE DEATH HOUSE released March 15, 1944

Probably the most interesting thing about this motion picture is Lionel Atwill's co-star, Jean Parker, who could have become a major actress, but didn't. At the age of 16, she portrayed "Princess Maria Nikolaevna Romanova", in 1932's, "Raputin and the Empress", starring John, Lionel, and Ethel Barrymore. In 1933, she portrayed "Beth", in the Katherine Hepburn version of American authoress, Louisa May Alcott's, "Little Women", and in 1935, she co-starred with actor Robert Donat in the classic fantasy, "The Ghost Goes West. The following year, Jean Parker, co-starred with Fred MacMurray and Jack Oakie, in director King Vidor's Western, "The Texas Rangers". While in 1939, she co-starred with Laurel and Hardy, in both "Zenobia" and "The Flying Deuces". With her second husband, Henry Dawson Sanders, they operated a flying service out of the Palm Springs Airport, in California, until the United States entered the Second World War and he joined the Coast Guard, but before he was discharged, their marriage ended in divorce. All through this time, Jean Parker was appearing either on stage, or in low budget movies to have an income. In 1944, besides this picture, she co-starred with Lon Chaney, in the "Inner Sanctum" mystery, "Dead Man's Eyes", and with John Carradine and Nils Asther, in "Bluebeard".

For this picture, Jean Parker, portrayed the title character of "Mary Kirk Logan". Lionel Atwill, in one of his rare good-guy roles, portrayed psychologist and criminologist "Charles Finch". While, Douglas Fawley portrayed "Dr. Dwight 'Brad' Bradford", who is searching for a way to bring dead tissue back to life.

The story runs like one of the "Inner Sanctum" films, and opens with "Charles Finch" telling the story about how he met "Mary Kirk Logan". He was in a bar having a drink with his friend, "Dr. Bradford", when "Mary's" dress caught fire and the two men were able to put the fire out. "Bradford" took her home and over time the two fell in love. However, he is also the executioner for the local prison and she refuses to marry him, unless he quits that profession. 

A man has been blackmailing "Mary" and her teenaged sister, "Lucy", portrayed Marcia Mae Jones. The blackmailer is murdered in "Mary's" apartment. She is arrested, goes on trial stating that she did not kill him, is still convicted, and now sits on death row in the same prison that "Brad" performs the executions.

I will not reveal the ending, but the following link will take my reader to "Lady in the Death House":

The forgotten, 1944's ,"Secrets of Scotland Yard" followed and then it was back to a Cliff-Hanger.

RAIDERS OF GHOST CITY Chapter One was released on June 25, 1944

Set during the American Civil War, a group of Confederates led by "Alex Morel", portrayed by Lionel Atwill, is raiding all gold shipments out of Oro Grande, California, heading for Washington, D.C. "Captain Steve Clark", portrayed by Dennis Moore, is recognized by "Morel's" accomplice, "Trina Dressard", portrayed by Virginia Christine, as a "Union Secret Service Agent".


Above, Lionel Atwill and Virginia Christine, "Princess Ananka" in 1944's, "The Mummy's Curse", and she was in, 1956's, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", have the drop on Dennis Moore, 1944's, "The Mummy's Curse", and 1945's, "The Purple Monster Strikes"and his partner, "Idaho Jones", portrayed by Joe Sawyer, both the science fiction classic, 1953's, "It Came from Outer Space", and televisions "The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin".

After escaping death from an uncoupled train car going off a cliff, "Steve Clark" introduces himself as a "Wells Fargo Agent" to "Cathy Haines", portrayed by Wanda McKay, the Bela Lugosi, John Carradine, and George Zucco, 1944, "Voodoo Man", and the J. Carrol Naish, 1944, "The Monster Maker".

Above, Dennis Moore and Wanda McKay

"Steve's" brother is murdered, having discovered that "Alex Morel" is not a confederate officer, but a Prussian spy. The stolen gold is being sent to Prussia to finance a war and also purchase Alaska from Russia.

The climax takes place in San Francisco, where "Steve", added by the "San Francisco Secret Service Office", takes down "Erich von Rugen" operating as "Alex Morel" and his gang.

In July 1944, Lionel Atwill married Mary Paula Pruter, I could not locate any photos of her, but they had one son, writer, Lionel Anthony Atwill. The couple stayed married until his death.

Executives at "Universal Pictures" thought, if two monsters brought in large box office in 1943, what about three and add Boris Karloff to the story 

HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN released on December 1, 1944

Above, the United States poster without age restriction. Below, the United Kingdom "X" rated poster, no one under sixteen-years of age permitted to see the film. That rating did not come into use until 1951, prior from 1932 through 1950, the rating was the word, "Horrific". 

The original story was by Curt Siodmak, according to the June 7, 1943, issue of the "Hollywood Reporter", "Universal Pictures" announced a major horror motion picture entitled "Chamber of Horrors". Among the announced cast were Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Claude Rains, Bela Lugosi, George Zucco, and Peter Lorre. 

Siodmak is quoted, in Tom Weaver, Michael Brunas, and John Brunas's, 1990, "Universal Horrors", about what became the "House of Frankenstein":
the idea was to put all the horror characters into one picture. I only wrote the story. I didn't write the script. I never saw the picture.

The actual screenplay was written by Edward T. Lowe, Jr. He changed parts of Curt Siodmak's original story, including removing "Kharis, the Mummy".

As mentioned earlier in this article, the motion picture was directed by Erle C. Kenton. 

Boris Karloff portrayed "Doctor Gustav Niemann". His last on-screen appearance was in the music horror thriller, 1944's, "The Climax". Initially the movie was to have been a sequel to the Claude Rains, 1943, "Phantom of the Opera", look closely at the apparently dead "Erique Claudin" and there is a perceptively short, the scene was edited, movement by the hand of Rains. In the rewritten, "The Climax", Susana Foster was back, but not as "Christine DuBois", but "Angela Klatt".

Lon Chaney portrayed "Lawrence 'Larry' Talbot" aka: "The Wolf Man". Chaney's last on-screen role was the aforementioned 1944's, "Dead Man Eyes", and he followed this feature film with the other aforementioned 1944, "The Mummy's Curse", portraying "Kharis".

John Carradine portrayed "Count Dracula" aka: "Baron Latos". Shakespearean actor Carradine had co-starred with Kent Taylor and Margaret Lindsey in the 1944 version of American author Jack London's novel "Alaska". The actor followed this feature film in the Fred Allen and Jack Benny comedy, 1945's, "It's in the Bag!".

Glenn Strange portrayed "The Frankenstein Monster". From 1961 through 1973, "B" Cowboy actor and singer Strange was "Sam the Bar Tender", on televisions "Gunsmoke". My article is "GLENN STRANGE: The Monster Sings" at:

J. Carrol Naish portrayed "Daniel, the Hunchback". Odd is the thinking of the "Universal Pictures" executives, but they believed by including a character just called on the posters and in other ads "The Hunchback". The potential audience would associate that character with "Quasimodo" of French author Victor Hugo's, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", that Lon Chaney, Sr. had portrayed way back in 1923.

For the record, J. Carrol Naish was of Irish ancestry, but mostly portrayed Italians and Japanese roles. He was the evil "Dr. Daka", the Japanese scientist in the first on-screen appearance of "Batman", see my above link in "Captain America". Naish was an Italian American police detective in the 1951 story of what became "The Mafia", "The Black Hand", starring Gene Kelly in a non-musical role, and
he also portrayed Hawaiian-Chinese-American detective "Charlie Chan", on televisions 1957, "The New Adventures of Charlie Chan".

Lionel Atwill portrayed "Inspector Arne". Atwill followed this feature film appearing in the low budgeted horror movie, 1945's, "Fog Island", co-starring George Zucco and directed by Terry O. Morse, who directed Raymond Burr's American footage in 1956's, "Godzilla, King of the Monsters".

Anne Gwynne portrayed "Rita Hussman". Gwynne had just appeared in the second American version of the 1932 German motion picture, "Mystery of the Blue Room", 1944's, "Murder in the Blue Room". The actress followed this picture with the mystery film-noir, co-starring Robert Shayne, 1946's, "I Ring Doorbells".

George Zucco portrayed "Professor Bruno Lampini". Zucco had just co-starred in one of "The Crime Doctor" mystery series starring Warner Baxter and Nina Foch, 1944's, "Shadows of the Night". The actor followed this feature with 1945's, "Fog Island".

Elena Verdugo portrayed "Ilonka". If you're a fan of 1970's television, you would know Elena Verdugo as the secretary, "Consuelo Lopez", on Robert Young's, "Marcus Welby, M.D." from 1969 through 1976. For Los Angelenos  who know their area's history, Elena is a descent of Spanish soldier Don José María Verdugo, whose Spanish land grant is todays cities of Glendale, Burbank, La Crescenta, La Canada, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater and Eagle Rock. She also starred in the forgotten television series "Meet Millie", from 1952 through 1955.

The Basic Screenplay:

For attempting to replicate "Henry Frankenstein's" experiments, "Dr. Gustav Niemann" is put in prison. There he meets the hunchback of the story, "Daniel", and he becomes "Niemann's" trusted assistant having been promised a new body. A convenient earthquake destroys the prison walls of their cell and the two escape. The two stumble upon traveling horror side-show owner, "Professor Lampini", and murder him, exit George Zucco

"Niemann" now becomes "Lampini" where one of his attractions is supposedly the Skelton of "Count Dracula". Revenge #1, to get even with the "Burgomaster Hussman", portrayed by Sig Ruman, "Niemann" revives "Dracula" to kill him, but threatens the vampire by reminding him that the stake in his heart can go back in,

Before "Baron Latos/Dracula " kills the burgomaster, he meets the burgomaster's granddaughter-in-law, "Rita Hussman", and her husband "Carl", charming them with pleasant conversation.


"Baron Lagos/Count Dracula" hypnotizes "Rita" and she realizes how beautiful death can be as if one is still alive. Her actions after "Rita's" encounter with "Dracula" trouble "Carl" and he goes to "Inspector Arnz", who was playing chess with his father.

Above, left to right, Peter Coe, the hypnotized Anne Gwynne, Sig Ruman, and Lionel Atwill.

"Baron Latos" next kills "Burgomaster Hussman" and before he can finish what he started with "Rita", "Carl" stops him, and notifies "Inspector Arne". Who now goes with "Carl" to "Niemann's" side show and is met by "Daniel".

Above, Peter Coe, J. Carrol Naish, and Lionel Atwill.

From what "Daniel' tells him, "Niemann", he realizes the police are after the count. Everything is loaded into the side show wagon and the two quickly leave. On the road, "Niemann" pushes "Dracula's" coffin out of the coach's interior and down a small hill. The count following, observes what was done, but just misses getting into his coffin as the sun comes up destroying him, exit John Carradine.

Next, "Niemann" and "Daniel" travel to the flood ruins of "Ludwig Frankenstein's" chateau/castle in Vasaria. On their way to the chateau, they encounter a Romani girl named "Ilonka", who is being whipped for stealing, and stop the whipping.

"Ilonka" joins the two men, not knowing who they really are and the danger that awaits her. On the trip to the ruins of "Ludwig's" chateau/castle, "Daniel" starts to fall in love with "Ilonka", but she will love another.

"Niemann" and "Daniel" find the bodies of the "Frankenstein Monster" and "Larry Talbot" frozen from the dam water under "Ludwig Frankenstein's" chateau, but referred to as a castle. "Niemann" has the two unfrozen and "Larry Talbot" comes back to life. 

"Niemann" promises to find a cure for "Lawrence Talbot's" werewolf curse, if he finds him "Henry Frankenstein's" notes, which he does. 

Given the notes, "Niemann" is not interested in helping "Talbot", but reviving "Frankenstein's Monster" and seeking revenge on two of this former associates.

With "Daniel's" help, "Nieman's" two associates are kidnapped as part of his plan to put their brains in the "Frankenstein Monster".

"Ilonka" reveals her love for "Larry", but the cursed "Larry Talbot" is also torn by his developing love from "Ilonka", should he turn into "The Wolf Man", before he is cured. Remembering, "Gwen Conliffe", the girl he loved when he was bitten by the werewolf, "Bela".

That night is a full moon and "Lawrence Talbot" becomes, once more, "The Wolf Man" and he kills a man creating a panic in Vasaria. 

The jealous "Daniel" tells "Ilonka" that "Larry Talbot" is a werewolf. This does not stop "Ilonka" and "Larry" tells her to make some silver bullets and wait that night near his bedroom. Night comes and "Niemann" revives the monster and "Larry" turns into "The Wolf Man".

The werewolf attacks and mortally wounds "Ilonka", exit Elena Verdugo, who shoots him with the silver bullets.

"The Wolf Man" turns back to the now dead "Lawrence Talbot", exit Lon Chaney.

"Daniel" attacks "Niemann", blaming him for the death of his love, "Ilonka", and attacks him, causing "Niemann" to become unconscious.

The "Frankenstein Monster" grabs "Daniel" and throws him out of a window to his death, exit J. Carrol Naish. The "Frankenstein Monster" picks up the unconscious "Niemann" as a mob of towns people enters the ruins and a fire is started.

The "Frankenstein Monster" still carrying the unconscious "Niemann" is chased by the mob into the swamp, redux of end of 1944's, "The Mummy's Ghost", as both the "Frankenstein Monster" and "Niemann" start to sink into the swamp as "Doctor Gustav Niemann" regains consciousness and yells for help, exit Boris Karloff and Glenn Strange.

After the previously mentioned, "Fog Island", was released on February 15, 1945.

Lionel Atwill was in "Crime, Inc", released on April 15, 1945.

Then, Lionel Atwill, found himself a guest at another "House Party".

HOUSE OF DRACULA released on December 7, 1945

Above, the United States poster without age restriction. Below, the United Kingdom "X" rated poster.

Initially, this was to have been a motion picture starring both Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi reprising his role of "Count Dracula". The story was originally developed with the title "Wolf Man vs Dracula", reading the initial story, the "Hays" censorship office made so many complaints, that the picture was put on a six-month hold. As a result, both Karloff and Lugosi were removed from the purposed motion picture for other actors and the story changed significantly. 

That original story was by Dwight V. Babcock, 1944's, "Dead Men's Eyes" and "The Mummy's Curse", and George Bricker, 1940's, "The Devil Bat" and 1942's, "North to the Klondike", was now turned over to screenplay writer, Edward T. Lowe, Jr. He removed all of the "Hays Office" objections and brought back the "Frankenstein Monster" instead. Next, he rewrote the screenplay in the style not of Curt Siodmak's "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man", but his own "House of Frankenstein".

The film was directed by Eric C. Kenton, the planned director on that original screenplay had been Ford Beebe. Kenton had just directed the Joan Davis comedy, 1945's, "She Gets Her Man".

Lon Chaney was back portraying "Lawrence Talbot" aka: "The Wolf Man". Lon had just portrayed "Grat Dalton" in the 1945 Western, "The Dalton's Ride Again". He followed this feature film with another "Inner Sanctum" mystery, 1945's, "Dead Man's Eyes".

Martha O'Driscoll portrayed "Miliza Morelle". O'Driscoll started out with an uncredited role in 1935's, "The Last Days of Pompeii", from 1933, "King Kong" creator, Merian C. Cooper. Her last on-screen appearance was twelve-years later in the 1947, "Carnegie Hall". After which she married Arthur L. Appleton, owner of the "Appleton Electric Company", in Chicago. O'Driscoll's short career included portraying "Daisy Mae" in the 1940 version of "Li'l Abner", "Ivy Devereaux" in director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1942, "Reap the Wild Wind", and just before this picture, 1945's, "The Daltons Ride Again".

John Carradine was back portraying "Count Dracula" aka: "Baron Latos". Carradine was a pirate in the Charles Laughton, 1945, "Captain Kidd", and followed this picture co-starring with Robert Shayne, in the horror film, 1946's, "Face of Marble".

Lionel Atwill portrayed a very familiar piece of "Universal Pictures" horror type casting, "Police Inspector Holtz". Atwill followed this film with his next to his last on-screen appearance, the 1946 Cliff-Hanger, "Lost City of the Jungle", portraying "War Monger", "Sir Eric Hazarias". Who is about to start the "Third World War". As a result of his search for "Meteorium 245", the only practical defense against "The Atomic Bomb".

Onslow Stevens portrayed "Dr. Franz Edelmann". Fans of 1950's science fiction, know Onslow Stevens for portraying "Army Brigadier General Robert O'Brien", in the classic 1954, "THEM!". His first on-screen appearance was in 1931, in 1933, he was in the previously mentioned, "Secret of the Blue Room", in 1934, Stevens starred in the Cliff-Hanger, "The Vanishing Shadow", featuring ray-guns, robots, and a vanishing belt. Onslow Stevens, co-starred with Paul Lukas and Walter Abel, in the 1935 version, of French author Alexander Dumas', "The Three Musketeers", and in 1941, he was in the Ellen Drew, Robert Paige, and Paul Lukas, horror crime drama, "The Monster and the Girl". While immediately before this picture, Onslow Stevens co-starred with George Sanders and Marguerite Chapman, in the 1943 War Drama, "Appointment in Berlin".

Jane Adams portrayed this picture's hunchback, "Nina". Her film career totaled only 31 roles, but besides this feature, she portrayed "Viki Vale", in the 1949 Cliff-Hanger, "Batman and Robin". She had previous been in the Rondo Hatton, 1946, "The Brute Man", and co-starred in the same years, "Lost City of the Jungle".

Glenn Strange was back as the "Frankenstein Monster". Strange just had an uncredited cowboy role in 1945's, "Saratoga Trunk", starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman. He would follow this feature film with the uncredited role of a cop, in the Ann Southern comedy, 1946's, "Up Goes Maisie".

The Basic Screenplay:

My reader may be asking, how does screenplay writer Edward T. Lowe, Jr.  explain the deaths of "Count Dracula" and "Lawrence Talbot", from his 1944 screenplay for the "House of Frankenstein"? Answer, he doesn't, both characters are "just alive", sorry for the choice of words "Drac", at this screenplays beginning and without previous connection to the other movie's screenplay.

"Baron Latos" arrives at the castle home of famed "Dr. Edelmann" and reveals himself as actually "Count Dracula". He had heard of "Edelmann's" work with blood and wants a cure for his vampirism. A series of transfusions using the doctor's own blood is suggested and begins. This would be followed by moving the Baron's coffin into the castle's basement. "Dr. Edelmann" does live in a castle.

Later the same night, "Lawrence Talbot" arrives demanding that "Dr. Edelmann" find a cure for his lycanthropy. 

However, "Larry" is told to wait, but he can't as the full moon is about to rise. He goes to the local police and asks them to lock him up in a cell for the night. "Inspector Holtz" goes to "Dr. Edelmann" and asks him to come to the police station with him. There, they watch "Lawrence Talbot" transform into "The Wolf Man".

The following morning, "Dr. Edelmann" and his assistant, "Miliza", have "Lawrence Talbot" transferred to his castle. There, "Edelmann" tells "Larry" he does not believe it is the moon that is triggering his transformation, but pressure on his brain. "Dr. Edelmann" tells "Talbot" that he needs to collect some more spores from a special plant that he believes will cure "Lawrence Talbot".

However, the idea of turning into "The Wolf Man" once again, makes "Larry" becomes overly depressed. He walks over to a castle window and jumps out of it in the hope of killing himself. "Larry" crashes into the ocean waves below the castle's window and wakes up in a cave located directly below the castle's basement.

Next, screenplay writer Edward T. Lowe, Jr. ties himself in a ball. After not explaining how "Dracula" and "Larry" are back after both being killed in "The House of Frankenstein". He now has "Dr. Edelmann" go down the cliffside of his castle in a harness to the cave below. There he is attacked by "Larry Talbot's" werewolf form, but luckily it is daytime and "The Wolf Man" transforms back to "Lawrence Talbot".

Next, looking for the spores the doctor requires, both men discover the catatonic "Frankenstein Monster" that is apparently holding the skeleton of "Dr. Niemann". Which is impossible, unless the swamp they sank into, was somehow connected to this underground ocean side cave at "Edelmann's" castle and how long has it been between the two movies for "Niemann" to have lost all his flesh, or by what means did that happen?  

"Larry" and "Edelmann" now take the "Frankenstein Monster" to the doctor's laboratory. He considers it's dangerous to attempt to bring it back to life. At the same time "Dracula" attempts to turn "Miliza" into a vampire, but she fights him with a crucifix and the count backs off.

"Dr. Edelmann" now approaches the two to say that "Dracula" needs another transfusion, because he has discovered strange antibodies in his blood. The doctor and "Baron Latos" each leave in a different direction, "Miliza" also leaves and is being shadowed by "Nina". Who sees "Miliza" meet "Baron Latos", but is surprised to notice that "Baron Latos" cast no reflection in a mirror.

"Nina" goes to "Dr. Edelmann" and tells him what she has seen and he prepares a formula that will destroy "Baron Latos". 

The transfusion begins, but "Dracula" hypnotizes both "Edelmann" and "Nina" to go into a deep sleep and reverses the flow sending his blood into the doctor's veins.

When "Dr. Edelmann" and "Nina" awake from their hypnotic state, "Dracula" is walking away "Milizia".

Getting "Larry Talbot", "Dr. Edelmann" and "Nina" go after "Baron Latos". They are able to drive him away from "Militia" by using a crucifix. "Baron Latos" realizes the sun will be coming up and goes to his coffin, but "Dr. Edelmann" has followed the vampire. As "Baron Latos" rests in an open coffin, "Edelmann" pulls it into the rising sunlight, destroying "COUNT DRACULA", exit John Carradine, and leaving only a skeleton.

Everyone relaxes with the knowledge that "Count Dracula" has been destroyed, but "Dr. Edelmann" starts to feel the effects of having "Dracula's" blood transferred to himself. 

"Dr. Edelmann" looks at himself in the mirror, but he doesn't cast a reflection. No he's not another vampire. but the screenplay leans more toward Scottish author Robert Lewis Stevenson's, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", and Onslow Stevens experiences the same type of dream sequence as Spencer Tracy in the 1941 film version of the Stevenson novel, that co-starred Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner.

Kind "Dr. Edelmann" looks into the mirror and sees his own "Mr. Hyde".

Returning to his normal self, and knowing he may not have much time, "Dr. Edleman" performs the operation on "Larry".

In the town, "Dr. Edelman's" Gardner, "Siegfried aka: Ziegfried", portrayed by Ludwig Stossel, had been speaking to a man named "Steinmuhl", portrayed by Skelton Knaggs, who had been suspicious of "Larry Talbot" in the jail. The two separate and "Steinmuhl" starts to walk away. 

When, next, "Dr. Edelmann's Hyde" personality kills the Gardner.

The body is discovered by the townspeople and they believe "Larry Talbot" killed "Siegfried". Joined by "Inspector Holtz" they chase whom they believe is "Talbot" to the "Edelmann's" castle. Both "Holtz" and "Steinmuhl" interrogate "Larry" and the doctor, who is still his normal personality, and leave.

Back in town, "Steinmuhl" is now convinced that "Dr. Edelmann" is the murderer and works up a mob to go back to the castle and kill him. At the castle, "Larry", "Militia" and "Nina" are shocked to see "Dr. Edelmann" turn into his "Hyde" personality. He revives the "Frankenstein Monster" and attacks "Nina" breaking her neck and throws her body off the cliffside into the underground cave below.

Led by "Inspector Holtz" and his police officers, the mob reaches the castle, but the "Frankenstein Monster" attacks them, killing two police officers. While, "Inspector Holtz" is accidentally electrocuted.

"Larry" shoots and kills "Dr. Edelmann" and sets fire to the laboratory, which spreads to the whole castle trapping the "Frankenstein Monster". Walking away into the Moonlite night is "Lawrence Talbot" with "Miliza Morelle".

Lionel Atwill appeared on-screen for the last time on October 20, 1946, in the crime comedy "Genius at Work".

Above, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, and Anne Jeffreys. Below, as the very low budget version of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Wally Brown and Alan Carney, in the eighth of their eight comedy motion pictures.

Sadly, Lionel Atwill had passed away six-months earlier on April 22, 1946, he was 61-years old.

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