September 23, 2009

My Favorite Brunette On-Screen, Sept. 23, 2009

The comedy-mystery My Favorite Brunette (Paramount, 1947) is the Curator’s Choice for September at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven, Michigan.

Bob Hope stars as baby photographer Ronnie Jackson, who longs to be a private detective like his next door office neighbor Sam McCloud (Alan Ladd). He gets the chance when he’s mistaken for McCloud by Dorothy Lamour. Hired to find her missing uncle, Ronnie gets more than he bargained for when he runs up against a gang of criminals led by Major Simon Montague (Charles Dingle) and his “hitman” Kismet (Peter Lorre).

The film begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are free.

The Tri-Cities Historical Museum is located in two separate buildings. My Favorite Brunette will be shown in the Akeley Building, at 200 Washington Ave., Grand Haven, Michigan.

For more information, contact the museum at (616) 842-0700.

To help publicize My Favorite Brunette, Peter Lorre made a guest appearance on Bob Hope’s radio program, The Pepsodent Show, on May 13, 1947. With a little “creep” music from Pepsodent Show bandleader Desi Arnaz, Hope and Lorre spoof the radio series Inner Sanctum Mysteries.

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!

September 11, 2009

Students! “Peter Lorre” Class Begins in October!

From Oct. 6 to Nov. 3, 2009, Lorre fans in Vero Beach, Florida, will be able to study the life and career of the classic film actor.

The World of Peter Lorre” will be offered through the Education and Film Department at the Vero Beach Museum of Art. Warren Obluck, the museum’s film studies coordinator, will lead the discussions and screen several Lorre movies, including M (1931), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Beat the Devil (1953), and Silk Stockings (1957).

The 5-week class will be held in the Leonhardt Auditorium every Tuesday, beginning Oct. 6 and ending Nov. 3. Two sessions are available – afternoons at 1:30 p.m. and evenings at 7 p.m. The cost is $55, $45 for Museum members.

The Vero Beach Museum of Art is located in Riverside Park, at 3001 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, Florida. Free parking is available on campus.

Registration for the fall term begins Sept. 8, at 4 p.m. and continues during Museum hours in the Education Wing or at the main lobby Visitor Services desk throughout the term, beginning Sept. 28. Students may register in-person between 4 and 6 p.m., or by phone between 5 and 6 p.m.

For information about registration or any classes, contact Ellyn Giordano, Museum Art School Manager, (772) 231-0707, extension 116. For more information on “The World of Peter Lorre”, call (772) 231-0707, extension 136.

Text for the “World of Peter Lorre” course is not announced on the VBMA’s website – but a good choice would certainly be The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre, the authorized biography of Peter Lorre, written by Stephen D. Youngkin.

September 7, 2009

Scent of Mystery at the ArcLight Hollywood, Sept. 8, 2009

Peter Lorre fans in the Los Angeles area are in for a special treat. The 1960 film Scent of Mystery will be shown at the ArcLight Hollywood on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009.

Billed as Holiday in Spain for this showing – the title given to the “scent-less” version of the film – the movie tells the story of a British tourist (Denholm Eliott) who accidentally discovers a plot to murder a young woman (Beverly Bentley). With a genial cabdriver (Peter Lorre) as his chauffeur, the intrepid tourist follows the would-be victim through Spain in an attempt to rescue her.

Holiday in Spain will be shown on a double-bill with The Golden Head, which begins at 8 p.m. Holiday in Spain is scheduled for 10 p.m.

The ArcLight Hollywood is located at 6360 W. Sunset Boulevard, between Vine and Ivar, in Hollywood. A 7-level parking garage is located close to the theater, which offers a maximum of 4 hours validation of $2 with the purchase of a movie ticket. Regular rates apply after the validation period.

Tickets may be purchased over the theater's website, at the theater, over the phone, or at ArcLight kiosks. Seats may be selected in advance.

Scent of Mystery is a rarely-seen film, never released to DVD or VHS. Long-thought lost, it surfaced in the 1980s for a couple showings on television. The ArcLight’s print is reportedly not the best, with faded colors and a magenta haze.

During its original run in January, 1960, Scent of Mystery was accompanied by odors released into the theater at key moments to provide clues to the mystery – or as director Jack Cardiff put it, “whiff gags”. Unfortunately, an efficient method of clearing the auditoriums’ air between showings was not available, and Scent of Mystery and “Smell-O-Vision” were a short-lived novelty.

A discussion of the making of Scent of Mystery can be found in Chapter 9 of The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre (University Press of Kentucky, 2005), by Stephen D. Youngkin.