Thursday, March 23, 2006

Peter Lorre

A few days back while browsing at a bookstore my eyes caught up with a massive new biography of the German Hungarian actor Peter Lorre, famous for his big bulging eyes and eccentric personality. I didn't buy the book, just looked at the pictures and put it back. I was a little surprised to see the book -- it had more than 200 pages of references and notes and the whole thing was mind boggling, considering he played so few lead roles, specially after he moved to Hollywood. Lorre's most famous screen role is, of course, the Fritz Lang masterpiece M in which he plays a serial killer who preys on children. His monologue at the end of the film is a masterpiece of theatrical acting. He also played small but memorable roles in The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca. I remembered the book because I wanted to point to this review of the Lorre book in the London Review of Books. There was also a very interesting article on Lorre by last year's nobel laureate Elifriede Jelinek in film comment a few months back, which is not available online. For more Lorre mug shots click this google image search link.


km said...

Funny, his roles in Falcon and Casablanca are small but I remember them so vividly.

Alok said...

yes there was something in his eyes and the face!!

In the contemporary cinema Steve Buscemi has a similar personality and the Coen brothers specially have exploited it really well.

Anonymous said...

Have you visited the book's official website?

Plenty of information on Peter Lorre there, plus tons of photos.

Alok said...

yes it's an excellent site. i didn't know about this.

thanks anon.

Anonymous said...


And thanks for your comments on "The Lost One". The author, Stephen Youngkin is a long-time friend of mine. I helped him with the book -- research, proofreading, compiled Peter's radio and television credits for the book's Appendix, plus Peter's American and British stage and vaudeville credits.

If you decide you would like to have a copy of the book, Amazon seems to have the lowest prices; plus, it qualifies for their Free Shipping deal.

Alok said...

Thanks. Will definitely check it out.

My interest has been piqued in the book after reading the reviews and other stuff about Lorre.