For an actor to captivate audiences with a despicable role is impressive, but to do so consistently over the course of a career is downright remarkable. Such was the rare talent of Peter Lorre, the Austro-Hungarian actor who imbued his villainous performances with a depth that made other screen menaces seem like caricatures by comparison. Trylon Cinema is presenting a five-film series in tribute to the iconic actor’s sinister charisma. In The Maltese Falcon (1941), Lorre commands the screen as a deceptively refined criminal plotting to pilfer the titular possession from gumshoe Sam Spade (a seminal role for Humphrey Bogart). Switching to dark comedy, Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) offers Lorre as a desperate, drunken plastic surgeon fated to do the bidding of a murderer. In Mad Love (1935) Lorre portrays a diabolical doctor whose lust for a married actress motivates a maniacal hand-swapping operation on her pianist husband. Beat the Devil (1953) features the idiosyncratic dialogue of Truman Capote, and includes Lorre in the motley ranks of a disreputable crew scheming to uncover uranium riches in Africa. The series concludes with M (1931), featuring Lorre’s auspicious breakout role as a serial killer of children. His haunted eyes convey a raw terror at impulses beyond his control. Fridays through Sundays; visit www.trylon.org for showtimes.