Today TMC showed The Circus Queen Murder from 1933, and to my surprise Dwight Frye had a leading part. Any time I see Frye in a movie it's a treat, he was in my mind one of the greatest character actors ever.
Theatre trained, everyone who worked with him said he was very versatile actor and could do anything from drama to comedy. Unfortunately Hollywood either typecast him as a lunatic or gave him one of those tiny background roles as a villager where he got lost most of the time. It's sad how someone with such potential was wasted by the film industry.
Ten years after The Circus Queen Murders was made Frye was working as a draftsman for Lockheed Aircraft, with only tiny roles coming in here and there. He was to have a good part in a proposed bio flick on Woodrow Wilson, but died of a heart attack coming home from seeing a movie with his son.
Still, watching him put his own twisted spin on the parts he was given, from Renfield to Fritz to even Flandrin in this mystery movie, is a joy to behold. I hope somewhere he's seeing people still enjoying his performances 80 years later.
Until Next Time, Stay Insane!