September 16, 2009

Lorre Films This Fall

With the combined archives of the Warner Bros., MGM, and RKO studios, the cable TV channel Turner Classic Movies runs more Peter Lorre movies than any other American television channel. From now until New Year’s Eve, Lorre fans have much to look forward to.

Peter Lorre’s page on the TV Now website lists the Lorre films scheduled on various television channels over a 2-week period.

All times are Eastern Standard.

September, 2009

Claude Rains is TCM’s “Star of the Month” for September. The schedule includes both films he made with Peter Lorre.

Sept. 2 (Wed.), 10:15 p.m. – Casablanca (1942). Peter Lorre appears in the pivotal role of Ugarte, who gets the action going by leaving with Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) two valuable letters of transit.

Sept. 16 (Wed.), 8 p.m. – Passage to Marseille (1944). As the convict Marius, Peter Lorre joins four other Devil’s Island prisoners (Bogart, George Tobias, Philip Dorn, and Helmut Dantine) to escape and fight for France in the early days of World War II. The story’s unusual “flashback-within-flashback” structure follows the novel, Men Without Country, by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall.

Sept. 17 (Thurs.), 2 a.m. – Hollywood Canteen (1944). Peter Lorre plays himself in a short scene he and Sydney Greenstreet wrote, spoofing their screen image as nefarious characters. “Hey, Sydney, doesn’t that constitute ‘mayhem’?” “Definitely, Peter!”

Sept. 18 (Fri.), 6 p.m. – Strange Cargo (1940). As Monsieur Pig, Peter Lorre loves Joan Crawford and reports escaped convicts – such as Clark Gable – to the authorities in a penal colony in French Guiana.

October, 2009

October means Halloween and horror films on Turner Classic Movies. This month, the following horror and non-horror Lorre films will be shown.

Oct. 4 (Sun.), 6:15 a.m. – The Beast With Five Fingers (1946). The second of only two serious horror films Peter Lorre made in his career. His librarian Hilary Cummins seeks answers in astrology books and escape from the hand of his deceased employer (Victor Francen).

Oct. 4 (Sun.), 7:45 a.m. – Mad Love (1935). Peter’s first horror film, and his first film in the U.S. He plays the brilliant surgeon Dr. Gogol, who grafts the hands of an executed knife-thrower onto the wrists of a concert pianist – not realizing the hands would remember their previous deadly skill.

Oct. 7 (Wed.), 12 p.m. – All Through the Night (1942). As Pepi, a Nazi spy operating in New York City with a gang of Nazi spies, Peter Lorre played a character similar to his Hans Beckert in M – a murderer pursued by both the police and underworld figures. It was Peter’s second movie with his pal, Humphrey Bogart. And his first and only film with Karen Verne, who in 1945 became the second Mrs. Lorre.

Oct. 10 (Sat.), 6 a.m. – Tales of Terror (1962). As the drunken Montressor Herringbone, Peter Lorre appears in the middle segment of this trio of Edgar Allen Poe tales and brings a comic touch to the horrific proceedings.

Oct. 17 (Sat.), 10 a.m. – Passage to Marseille (1944).

Oct. 27 (Tues.), 9:15 a.m. – Beat the Devil (1954). As Julius O’Hara, Peter Lorre teamed up for the last time with Humphrey Bogart and director John Huston in this satire filmed on location in Italy.

Oct. 31 (Sat.), 5:15 a.m. – Mad Love (1935).

The Hallmark Movie Channelwill air 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) on these dates:

Oct. 9 (Fri.), 8 p.m.
Oct. 10 (Sat), 1 p.m.
Oct. 21 (Wed.), 10:30 p.m.
Oct. 22 (Thurs.), 7 p.m.

November, 2009

November brings two Lorre films that are TCM staples, as well as movies that don’t get as much play.

Nov. 2 (Mon.), 12 p.m. – Arsenic and Old Lace (1944). Peter Lorre’s Dr. Einstein is a private plastic surgeon to a murderer in this humorous Halloween tale of two sweet old ladies whose “charity” involves disposing of elderly gentlemen with a glass of elderberry wine – laced with a potent mixture of arsenic, strychnine, and just a pinch of cyanide.

Nov. 8 (Sun.), 12 p.m. – The Maltese Falcon (1941). Peter Lorre’s performance as Joel Cairo, in search of a fabulous golden jewel-covered statuette, led to a contract with Warner Brothers – and a lifelong friendship with Humphrey Bogart.

Nov. 18 (Wed.), 6 a.m. – You’ll Find Out (1940). Kay Kyser and his “Kollege of Musical Knowledge” band provided the musical interludes in this “mysterious old house” horror-comedy. Teaming up for the first (and only) time with horror-film stars Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre also appeared with the two actors on Kyser’s radio show to promote the movie.

Nov. 23 (Mon.), 1:30 a.m. – The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934). Peter Lorre’s first English-speaking film role and first collaboration with director Alfred Hitchcock led to a contract with Columbia Studios, passage to America with his wife Celia Lovsky, U.S. citizenship, and a long career in American films, radio, television, and stage.

Nov. 27 (Fri.), 12 a.m. – The Shaggy D.A. (1976). Not exactly a “Peter Lorre film”, but it’s one of many films featuring a Lorre-like character – in this case, a Boston Terrier plotting with several other dogs (among them, Humphrey Bogart as a bloodhound and Mae West as a poodle) to escape from the pound.

Nov. 28 (Sat.), 6 p.m. – Casablanca (1942).

December, 2009

Humphrey Bogart is December’s “Star of the Month” on TCM, and among the films scheduled are all five of the movies he made with Peter Lorre.

Dec. 1 (Tues.), 6:30 a.m. – The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934).

Dec. 3 (Thurs), 11 a.m. – Three Strangers (1946). Peter Lorre’s Johnny West is an innocent who gets caught up in a sensational murder trial – and becomes partners with Jerome Arbutny (Sydney Greenstreet) and Crystal Shackleford (Geraldine Fitzgerald) on a sweepstakes ticket. On meeting Joan Lorring, who plays his love interest, Icy Crane, Peter kidded her by saying, “All of my dreams of playing with the most glamorous women, and here is my first romantic part, and look what I get to play with!”

Dec. 7 (Mon.), 2:15 a.m. – Arsenic and Old Lace (1944).

Dec. 16 (Wed.), 6 a.m. – Becoming Attractions: Humphrey Bogart (1996). This documentary on the promotion of Bogart through his movie trailers at Warner Brothers includes discussions of the four films he made with Peter Lorre at the studio in the early 1940s.

Dec. 16 (Wed.) – A Bogart-Lorre triple feature with:
All Through the Night (1942) at 4:15 p.m.,
The Maltese Falcon (1941) at 8 p.m., and
Casablanca (1942) at 10 p.m.

Dec. 22 (Tues.), 1 a.m. – Silk Stockings (1957). As the Russian comissar Brankov, Peter Lorre enjoyed himself in a part that called for singing and dancing with co-stars Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Jules Munshin, and Joseph Buloff.

Dec. 23 (Wed.), 11 a.m. – Passage to Marseille (1944).

Dec. 30 (Wed.), 11:30 p.m. – Beat the Devil (1954).

Many of these movies have been remastered and packaged in DVDs loaded with extra features. For more information on the films of Peter Lorre released to home video, head to the DVD – VHS section of The Lost One website.

Happy viewing!

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