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

Dec. 15, 2010

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 The Lost One, I separated the person of Peter Lorre from his screen persona. Continuing that theme for this website, I suggested including photos (most of which belonged to Lorre himself) that pictured a happy, healthy man at odds with his sinister image as a movie menace.

There are many images here that would have made the biography but for space limitations and/or poor resolution. Nonetheless, these shots (and more to come) show rather than tell his many-sided story behind the camera.

Except where noted, all photos are from the collection of Stephen Youngkin.
For a larger image, click on the thumbnail. A new window will open.

Andrew Lorre, 1931

Andrew “Bundy” Lorre looked a great deal like his famous brother. Often told that he also talked just like Peter Lorre, he would reply, “Yes, but he is getting paid for it.” Circa 1931.

Peter Lorre and Francis Lorant, 1932

Peter Lorre and brother Francis Lorant, who later emigrated to Australia, lunching in Berlin, 1932. Lorre’s head is shaved for his role as a humpbacked drug dealer in Der weisse Dämon (The White Demon).

Celia Lovsky, 1925

Celia Lovsky, circa 1925. Lovsky was already well established on the Vienna and Berlin stages when Lorre met her in 1929. He was mesmerized by her beauty, she by his talent.

Celia Lovsky, 1927

Celia Lovsky, circa 1927. Peter Lorre told friends he didn’t know how he attracted such beautiful women. Some female admirers found his menacing and mysterious screen image appealing. His wives, however, shared something else in common – an unqualified belief in his talent.

Peter Lorre and Celia Lovsky, 1929

On a winter holiday in the Black Forest of southwestern Germany, December, 1929. Peter proposed to Celia at Christmas that year.

Peter Lorre and Celia Lovsky, 1932

Peter and Celia motor-boating on der Wannsee, a popular area for swimming and boating in the southwestern Berlin borough of Steglitz-Zehlendorf. Taken in 1932.

Celia Lovsky, 1932

After Peter and Celia divorced, she was seldom without one or more cats. When I knew her, she had four felines, all tabbies and all very spoiled. Here she is at a petting zoo with a tiger cub in her lap. Berlin, circa 1932.

Peter Lorre and Paul Falkenberg, 1933

Peter Lorre and Paul Falkenberg in a Paris editing room, 1933. Falkenberg, who edited M (1931), became a good friend of Lorre’s, even lending him money to take a cure for his drug addiction.

Lotte Lenya and Peter Lorre in 'Frühlings Erwachen' (1929)

Peter Lorre, as the angelically simple “Moritz Steifel” in Frank Wedekind’s Frühlings Erwachen (Spring’s Awakening), resists the sexual overtures of the nymphomanical Ilse (Lotte Lenja), Volksbühne, Theater am Bülowplatz, Berlin, October 1929. Taken by photographer Lotte Jacobi.

Kurt Gerron and Peter Lorre in 'Die Unüberwindlichen' (1929)

Kurt Gerron plays the shady profiteer “Camillioni” to Peter Lorre as the corrupt Vienna press czar “Barkassy” in Karl Kraus’ Die Unüberwindlichen (The Unconquerable, October 1929). At the Volksbühne, Theater am Bülowplatz, Berlin.

Otto Wallburg and Peter Lorre in 'Der Kandidat' (1930)

Otto Wallburg and Peter Lorre (as “Bach”, editor of The People’s Voice) in Carl Sternheim’s comedy Der Kandidat (The Candidate), Deutsches Kammerspiele, Berlin, January 1930. Said theater critic Fritz Engel in the Berliner Tageblatt: “He has a personal enchantment, not one of beauty; one is strongly moved and cannot pull himself away from Lorre.”

Heinz Rühmann, Hilde Körbe and Peter Lorre in 'Die Quadratur des Kreises' (1930).

Heinz Rühmann and Hilde Körbe opposite Peter Lorre, as “Wasja”, a fanatical member of the League of Communist Youth, in Valentine Katayev’s Die Quadratur des Kreises (Squaring the Circle). The satire, set against Russia’s housing shortage, premiered at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm, Berlin, in December 1930.

Peter Lorre, Carola Neher, and Fritz Kampers in 'Der Dompteur' (1931).

Whether distancing himself from a character or absorbing himself in a role, Lorre labeled himself a “face-maker.” As Vincent Price said, “It was his definition of acting.” Lorre first played the funnyman (“Pipi the Clown”) in Der Dompteur (The Lion Tamer) on the stage of Berlin’s Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in March 1931, with Carola Neher and Fritz Kampers.

Peter Lorre and Ilse Fürstenberg in 'Nebeneinander' (1931).

Director Tay Garnett felt that Lorre called himself a “face-maker” because he wanted no one to know how seriously he took his art. Once again, as “the Pawnbroker” in Georg Kaiser’s Nebeneinander (Side by Side, September 1931), his facial expressions gave, according to one reviewer, “good insight into one driven by demons.” With Ilse Fürstenberg.

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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