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Peter Lorre

Foto: Praesens Film AG (P. Gassmann)

1904 - 1964

The actor Peter Lorre was born in Roszahegy (Hungary) as Ladislav Löwenstein. After a abandoned banc apprenticeship he turned to his real calling, to the theater. He followed to the Stegreiftheater of Jacob Moreno who gave him the stage name Peter Lorre. When Lorre, after some local theater successes, got engaged by Fritz Lang for the movie "M" (1931) he landed a great success which could also be designated as zenith of his career at the same time. The criticism described Lorres performance as "worrying good" and Lorre was put over in  and over again for roles of pychopaths, criminals and so on
since then. Immediate after "M" Lorre received 310 film offers which all contained a smiliar role. However he refused all in order to try not to get personified as a psychopath. But these efforts were more or less ineffective to his death. 

The movie "M" had a formative influence to most of his further almost 80 parts. If he had retired after the movie "M" his myth wouldn't have detracted from. 
Ten years later, in 1940, Lorres speech for the defense in "M" was abused by the Nazis in order to underpin the inferiority of the Jews. 

Lorres first parts for Ufa are small, but instead amusing. His next eight movies after "M" varied permanently between good and evil. 
In 1934 he received an offer from England th shot the movie "The Man Who Knew Too Much" with director Alfred Hitchcock. Because Hitchcock had seen Lorre in "M" he was also employed as a killer. The work with Hitchcock gave Lorre a fresh impetus. Still in the same year Lorre received an offer from
Hollywood - weekly wages of 1000 Dollar by Colubmia. Lorre accepted the offer thankful. He shot the movie "Mad Love" (35), which became a great success.
Because Lorre had to play a dubious type in this movie, the call of a pathological killer sticked to him soon in America too. 
In his more than 70 movies in America there was hardly a part he wasn't up but mostly absolute understretched. 

In 1936 Lorre changed to 20th Century Fox where he was able to interpret other characters than murderers. One year later the producer Sol M. Wurtzel suggested Lorre for the leading role of the Japanese detective Mr. Moto. The first of a number of Mr.-Moto movies was well received by the viewers and in the next years there were shot many other episodes. 

In 1939 Lorre separated with 20th Century Fox and worked as a freelancer in the following four years. The majority of the movies in this years were B-Pictures. 
At the beginning of the 40s the "film noir" arose and altered the thriller genre total. To this category of film belongs "The Maltese Falcon" (44) where Lorre played together with Humphrey bogart and Sidney Greenstreet. With this movie a long-standing cooperation began with Bogart and Greenstreet. 

In 1942 Lorre shot a hit again. It is true his role was small but easily remembered anyway. The talking is about "Casablanca". 
After Casablanca Lorre signed a contract with Warner Bros. There he played in demanding minor parts which never fell short of a adequate level. 
When Lorre played in "Arsenic and Old Lace" (44) he was in his element. The role not only had the effect to be macaber but also was a funny one. 

Shortly after the end of the war a new  period of Lorre's life began. He got married with the actress Kaaren Verne - is was is secaond marriage. The years with Warner Bros. got him a dozen of demanding films. 
When he Left Warner Bros in 1946 Sam Stiefel advised Lorre to take himself charge of his career. Shortly afterwards Lorre founded the Lorre Incorp. But the foundation didn't pay what Lorre had fancied. 

In 1951 Lorre realized in Germany his first movie as a director and actor. "Der Verlorene" didn't become a success because the time wasn't yet mature for a subject matter of a killing scientist at the Nazi regime. Nevertheless the movie received the predicate "valuable" und was proposed for the Biennale in Venice. 
Broken-hearted Lorre returned to America after his failure. There he had difficulties to gain a foothold again, only when he played in John Huston's "Beat the Devil" (54) things were looking up. The movie meant a crucial event in Lorre's life. At this moment he hadn't shot a movie for two years and he put on 100 pounds which caused a malfunction of his glands. 
In the late 50s it looked as if Lorre would have discarded. He didn't receive new roles. But the fact that the for dead declared horror genre experienced a new impetus at the beginning of the 60s got him new work. 
In 1963 he played the rave in the film The Raven". The film became a success and assembled discarded horror authorities of a past time like Boris Karloff. 
In spring 1964 Lorre's wife filed for a divorce because Lorre became apathetic and refused any conversation. On the 23rd March Lorre should had to come by the divorce but his housekeeper found hem dead in front of his bed - brain stroke as a result of high blood pressure.

Other movies with Peter Lorre:
Bomben auf Monte Carlo (31) Die Koffer des Herrn O.F. (31) Der weisse Dämon (32) Schuss im Morgengrauen (32) Fünf von der Jazzband (32) F.P.1 antwortet nicht (32) Was Frauen träumen (33) Unsichtbare Gegner (33) Du haut en bas (33) Crime and Punishment - Schuld und Sühne (35) Secret Agent - Der Geheimagent (36) Crack-Up (36) Think Fast, Mr. Moto - Mr. Moto und die Schmugglerbande (37) Thank You, Mr. Moto - Mr. Moto und der Chinaschatz (37) Nancy Steele Is Missing! (37) Lancer Spy - Der unabhängige Spion (37) Mysterious Mr. Moto - Mr. Moto und der Kronleuchter (38) Mr. Moto Takes a Chance - Mr. Moto und der Dschungelprinz (38) I'll Give a Million - Ich werde eine Million austeilen (38) Mr. Moto's Gamble - Mr. Moto und der Wettbetrug (38) Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation - Mr. Moto und sein Lockvogel (39) Mr. Moto in Danger Island - Mr. Moto und die geheimnisvolle Insel (39) Mr. Moto's Last Warning - Mr. Moto und die Flotte (39) You'll Find Out/Here Come the Boogie Men (40) Island of Doomed Men - Insel der Verdammten (40) Strange Cargo - Die wunderbare Rettung (40) I Was an Adventuress - Die Abenteuerin (40) Stranger on the Third Floor - Der Fremde vom dritten Stock (40) They Met in Bombay - Fluchtweg unbekannt (41) Mr. District Attorney - Anwalt (41) The Face Behind the Mask - Das Gesicht hinter der Maske (41) The Maltese Falcon - Die Spur des Falken (41) The Boogie Man Will Get You (42) All Through the Night - Agenten der Nacht (42) In This Our Life (42) Invisible Agent - Unsichtbare Gegner (42) Casablanca (42) The Cross of Lorraine - Das Lorraine-Kreuz (43) The Constant Nymph - Liebesleid/Jungfräuliche Liebe (43) Background to Danger - Vorspiel zur Gefahr (43) Passage to Marseille -Fahrkarte nach Marseille (44) The Mask of Dimitrios - Dimitrio's Maske (44) Arsenic and Old Lace - Arsen und Spitzenhäubchen (44) The Conspirators - Der Ring der Verschworenen (44) Hollywood Canteen (44) Hotel Berlin (45) Confidential Agent - Geheimagent (45) The Verdict - Hier irrte Scotland Yard (46) The Beast with Five Fingers - Die Bestie mit den fünf Fingern (46) Three Strangers - Drei Fremde (46) Black Angel - Vergessene Stunde/Schwarzer Engel (46) The Chase - Die Jagd (46) My Favorite Brunette - Detektiv mit kleinen Fehlern (47) Casbah (48) Rope of Sand - Blutige Diamanten (49) Double Confession (50) Quicksand (50) 20'000 Leagues Under the Sea - 20'000 unter dem Meer (54) Meet Me in Las Vegas - Viva Las Vegas! (56) Congo Crossing - Blutroter Kongo (56) Around the World in Eighty Days - In 80 Tagen um die Welt (56) The Story of Mankind - Die Geschichte der Menschheit (57) The Sad Sack - Der Regiments-Trottel (57) Hell Ship Mutiny (57) The Buster Keaton Story - Der Mann, der niemals lachte (57) Silk Stockings - Seidenstrümpfe (57) The Big Circus - Die Welt der Sensationen (59) Scent of Mystery (60) Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea - Unternehmen Feuergürtel/Als der Weltraum zu brennen begann (61) Tales of Terror: The Black Cat - Der grauenvolle Mr. X/Schwarze Geschichten (62) Five Weeks in a Balloon - Fünf Wochen im Ballon (62) The Comedy of Terrors - "Ruhe sanft" Gmbh/Komödie des Grauens (63) Muscle Beach Party (64) The Patsy - Die Heulboje/Der Wunderknabe (64) Serie "Suspense: The Tortured Hand" (52) Serie "Lux Video Theatre: The Taste" (52) Serie "The United States Steel Hour: The Vanishing Point" (53) Serie "Climax!: Casino Royale"(54) Serie "The Schlitz Playhouse of Stars: The Pipe" (54) Serie "The Best of Broadway: Arsenic and Old Lace" (54)  Serie "Climax!: The Fifth Wheel" (55) Serie "Producers Showcase: Reunion in Vienna (55) Serie "Eddie Cantor Theatre: The Sure Cure" (55) Serie "Climax!: A Promise to Murder" (55) Serie "Rheingold Theatre: The Blue Landscape" (55) Serie "The Screen Directors Playhouse: Number Five Checked Out" (56) Serie "Studio 57: The Finishers" (56) Serie "Playhouse 90: Sizeman and Son" (56) Serie "Climax!: The Man Who Lost His Head" (56) Serie "Playhouse 90: Seidman and Son" (56) Serie "20th Century-Fox Hour: Operation Cicero" (56) Serie "Playhouse 90: The Last Tycoon" (57) Serie "Climax!: A Taste for Crime" (57) Serie "Playhouse 90: The Jet-Propelled Couch" (57) Serie "Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Diplomatic Corpse" (57) Serie "Five Fingers: Thin Ice"(59) Serie "The Best of the Post: The Baron Loved His Wife" (59) Serie "Playhouse 90: The Cruel Day" (60) Serie "Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Man from the South" (60) Serie "Wagon Train: The Alexander Portlass Story" (60) Serie "Rawhide: Incident of the Slavemaster" (60) Serie "Checkmate: The Human Touch" (60) Serie "Route 66: Lizard's Leg and Owlet's Wing" (62) Serie "Dupont's Show of the Week: Diamond Fever" (63) Serie "77 Sunset Strip: 5" (63) Serie "Kraft Suspense Theatre: The End of the World, Baby" (63)