'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


Critics Are Saying . . . . .

A selection of reviews of The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre (University Press of Kentucky, Sept. 2005), available in bookstores and through on-line merchants everywhere.

Turner Classic Movies; Movie News:
Peter Lorre, 1937

A publicity portrait of Peter Lorre for Crack-Up (20th Century-Fox, 1937).

The legacy of Peter Lorre is everywhere. His voice is imitated in cartoons. His sinister laugh is a staple of talented impressionists. His image is copied and reproduced to evoke a feeling of fright. But above all else, his films have endured the test of time, and Lorre remains an icon in film and popular culture.

Even though Peter Lorre's mythic on-screen status has never wavered, no one has been able to successfully separate the man from the legend. Stephen D. Youngkin's The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre tells the gripping story of the Hungarian-born actor. Often typecast as a villainous figure, Lorre first achieved Hollywood fame as a child murderer in Fritz Lang's M (1931). At the time of his emerging stardom, Lorre's personal life was embroiled in a morphine addiction that affected everything from his marriage to his acting career. While people were mesmerized with Lorre's eyes and enchanted by his accent, the real Lorre was a sickly man often frustrated with his lack of acting opportunities and struggling personal relationships.

The Lost One provides a behind-the-scenes look at, and a historical context for, some of the most famous films in history. It describes Alfred Hitchcock's relationship with Lorre throughout The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) and The Secret Agent (1936), John Huston's dialogue with Lorre during The Maltese Falcon (1941), and Frank Capra's treatment of the actor on the set of Arsenic and Old Lace (1944). Youngkin also tells the heartbreaking story of Lorre's eventual emigration from Nazi Germany and his participation in Casablanca (1942) during the height of World War II.

Stephen D. Youngkin has spent thirty years painstakingly gathering research from archives around the world, conducting interviews with more than three hundred Hollywood figures including Roger Corman, Fritz Lang, and Rouben Mamoulian, and collecting rare documents and photos from the Lorre family. Youngkin has created the definitive biography of an actor whose otherwise triumphant film career was entangled in the misery of reality.

Peter Lorre's life ended with many failed possibilities. After the disappointment of his directorial debut, Der Verlorene (The Lost One, 1951), Lorre became a shadow of his former self. From his voice being mimicked for "Booberry" cereal, to a cameo in Muscle Beach Party (1964), Lorre became a popular parody. Even though the once respected actor was forgotten at the time of his death, his impact on the early development of film still resonates in cinema today.  —   March, 2007

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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