'The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre' by Stephen D. Youngkin

The Lost One:
A Life of
Peter Lorre



Chapter 3

Peter Lorre's
(A Sample)

Critics Are
Saying . . .

The Author

What's New!


Peter Lorre

Peter Lorre:
The Man,
The Actor


Photo Album

Poster Art



Radio Programs


In 1962, Peter Lorre signed with American International Pictures to appear in a film based on two of Edgar Allan Poe’s tales, “The Black Cat” and “The Cask of Amontillado.” Unlike previous AIP Poe titles (House of Usher, Pit and the Pendulum, etc.), this three-part movie would be two-parts horror, one-part comedy. AIP publicist Milton Moritz saw no reason to let the audience in on the joke. “As far as the graphics were concerned,” he recalled, “they had a very dark tone to them. The public was accepting of the fact that maybe someone was trying to put something over on them.”

For AIP, it was horror first, comedy second. For Lorre, however, it was the other way around. Sam Arkoff, co-founder of AIP, remembered Lorre as a quiet and wistful man who was sad at the thought good roles weren’t coming his way. Anxious to play comedy, Lorre balanced the appreciation of a Poe purist against the opportunity to inject humor into his roles.

“The Edgar Allan Poe films had a tremendous following,” said Moritz. “They still play and play and play.” He believed that the films won’t ever go out of style because there was something fun about them. That they (and the actors who appeared in them) never took themselves too seriously explains their appeal: “Even with Vincent Price, he could jest about the parts he played. He’d say, ‘I guarantee any three actors in Hollywood would love to do what I’m doing. The fact is that I’m having fun and I can ham it up and the people are with me.’”

So too were they with Peter Lorre.

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.

Tales of Terror   —   American International Pictures, 1962, directed by Roger Corman, with Peter Lorre as "Montressor Herringbone", a man who hated a cat – a black cat.

American poster for 'Tales of Terror'.

An American duo-tone one-sheet poster advertising Tales of Terror (AIP, 1962).

Mexican lobby card for 'Tales of Terror'.

A Mexican lobby card advertising Destinos Fatales (1962), which translates as Fatal Destinies. The color inset illustrates a scene from "The Black Cat" segment, the second of the three stories, while the black-and-white inset is from part three, "The Case of M. Valdemar".

The Raven   —   American International Pictures, 1963, directed by Roger Corman, with Peter Lorre as "Dr. Bedlo", a 16th-Century magician.

American half-sheet poster for 'The Raven'.

This original American half-sheet poster, with the heads of Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, and Peter Lorre, advertised horror over comedy in The Raven (1963).

American poster for 'The Raven'.

An American one-sheet color poster for The Raven (1963), with the three leading actors in prominent display.

Mexican lobby card for 'The Raven'.

A Mexican lobby card for the original release of El Cuervo (The Raven, 1963). The ad-line reads "The terror began at midnight!". Dr. Bedlo (Lorre) informs the incredulous Dr. Craven (Price) that his deceased wife Lenore (Hazel Court) is actually alive and well – at Dr. Scarabus' (Karloff) castle.

Mexican lobby card for 'The Raven'.

An original Mexican lobby card advertising El Cuervo or The Raven (1963). Dr. Bedlo (Peter Lorre) narrowly escapes the bewitched coachman Grimes (William Baskin).

Mexican lobby card for 'The Raven'.

A Mexican lobby card for El Cuervo (The Raven, 1963), featuring the three sorcerers: Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, and Vincent Price.

American lobby card for 'The Raven'.

An American lobby card for The Raven (1963), with Craven's coachman and manservant Grimes (William Baskin) under the spell of Dr. Scarabus (Karloff) and in pursuit of Dr. Bedlo (Peter Lorre).

Belgium poster for 'The Raven'.

A poster for the Belgium release of Le Corbeau (AIP, 1963), or The Raven. The artwork emphasizes the film's horror elements over its comedy.

The Comedy of Terrors   —   American International Pictures, 1964, directed by Jacques Tourneur, with Peter Lorre as "Felix Gillie", who – as assistant to a crooked undertaker – believes "there must be a little more honest way to conduct a funeral business."

American lobby card for 'The Comedy of Terrors'.

An American lobby card advertising the original release of The Comedy of Terrors, with Peter Lorre. A "master craftsman" who hates to see anyone buried "naked" (i.e., dumped into a grave without a coffin), Felix Gillie (Lorre) uses a piece of rope to measure wood for a new casket.

American lobby card for 'The Comedy of Terrors'.

An original American lobby card for The Comedy of Terrors (1964), with Peter Lorre and Vincent Price – and a bottle of "medicine".

Mexican lobby card for 'The Comedy of Terrors'.

A Mexican lobby card for Comedia de Terror (Comedy of Terror, 1964). In the inset, Waldo Trumbull, "entrepreneur of death", intends to finish off his landlord, John F. Black (Basil Rathbone).

American poster for 'The Comedy of Terrors'.

This original one-sheet poster for the American release of The Comedy of Terrors (1964) advertised the re-teaming of Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff, following the "old fiends'" appearance in AIP's The Raven (1963) the previous year.

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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