The Lost One:
A Life of
Celia Lovsky said that Peter was
“happily unhappy” at Warner Bros. In The Maltese
Falcon, Bogart put it to him another way: “When you’re
slapped, you’ll take it and like it.” As was so often
the case, Lorre’s art imitated his life. Warner Bros. may well
have been a prison for a creative artist (as contract player Geraldine
Fitzgerald put it), but it kept Lorre in the public eye and paid him,
if not handsomely then at least reasonably, for his effort.
On top of that, it paired him with two actors he described as truly
great: Humphrey Bogart and Sydney Greenstreet. Ironically, Lorre’s
highest paid compliment to Bogart often applied to his own work as an
actor – “If you can cover a person that you play so well
you become that person, then you must be a very great actor, because
Bogie, inside, he wasn’t a tough man, he was a very soft-hearted,
Except where noted, all images are from the
collection of Stephen Youngkin.
For a larger view, click on
the thumbnail. A new window will open.
The Maltese Falcon — Warner Bros.,
1941, directed by John Huston, with Peter Lorre as "Joel Cairo", one of
many in search of the fabulous gem-encrusted golden Falcon statuette.
A Mexican lobby card advertising El Halcon Maltes
(1941), which translates as The Maltese Hawk.
The Boogie Man Will Get You — Columbia,
1942, directed by Lew Landers, with Peter Lorre as "Dr. Lorentz",
justice of the peace, mayor, coronor, loan officer, insurance salesman,
and notary public – not to mention sheriff – in the small
town of Jenksville.
An American one-sheet poster advertising the original
release of The Boogie Man Will Get You (1942).
Passage to Marseille — Warner Bros.,
1944, directed by Michael Curtiz, with Peter Lorre as "Marius", the best
safecracker in Paris, a virtuoso among the pickpockets, and a patriot of
A poster for the Mexican release of Pasaje Para
Marsella (1944) or Passage For Marseille. While most
foreign artwork shows the cast apparently dressed for Casablanca
(Warner Bros., 1942) – notably Peter Lorre in a white dinner
jacket and black bowtie – their costumes are correct in this poster.
A Mexican lobby card for Marsella (Marseille,
1944). The ad-lines read, "Men without mother country in a world in
flames. In a dramatic odyssey by forests and seas, they fight for freedom
like those who have lost it. They live their most dangerous adventure and
they discover their most charming idyll."
An American lobby card for the 1956 re-release of
Passage to Marseille, with Helmut Dantine and Peter Lorre in
the jungle prison camp in French Guiana.
Arsenic and Old Lace — Warner Bros.,
1944, directed by Frank Capra, with Peter Lorre as "Dr. Einstein",
personal plastic surgeon to an international serial killer.
A lobby card advertising the original American release
of Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), with Raymond Massey and Peter
Lorre drinking a toast to "[Massey's] dear, dead brother", the bound
and gagged Cary Grant.
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The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre (2005)
by Stephen Youngkin – now in its third printing and winner of the
Rondo Award for "Best Book of 2005" – is available in bookstores
everywhere, as well as these on-line merchants.
The Films of Peter Lorre (1982), also by
Youngkin, is out of print, but copies may be purchased through Amazon
and Barnes & Noble below. Interested in Lorre's radio and television
performances? Check out Radio Showcase and Movies Unlimited. Netflix has
Lorre movies for rent.
U.S. Amazon – Soft-bound
Amazon U.S. – Hard-Cover
Amazon Canada – Hard-Cover
Amazon Canada – Soft-bound
Amazon U.K. – Soft-bound
Amazon U.K. – Hard-Cover
University Press of Kentucky
Barnes & Noble – Nook and Hard-bound