Fifty years after his death, Peter Lorre remains one of the best loved brands in movie history: the softly spoken villain with the protruding eyes who lurks in the shadows of countless Hollywood tales of terror, crime and espionage. His starring roles were few, but his presence on any cast list is a guarantee of pleasure.
Season highlights include M, Casablanca and The Man Who Knew Too Much
We think we know what to expect from him, but his genius lies in his ability to keep us guessing. Born László Loewenstein in the small town of Rószahegy (Hungary), Lorre won critical acclaim for his theatre work with Brecht and international fame for his first major film role as the serial killer in Fritz Lang’s M. He managed to flee Hitler’s Germany and spent most of his career in Hollywood exile, but he never could shake off the sinister image with which Lang had stamped him. Frustrated in his ambitions, he applied his considerable artistry to the portrayal of spies, murderers and madmen.
Key to Lorre’s approach is his talent for understatement, so greatly prized by Brecht and Hitchcock. His ambiguous restraint compels attention, enabling him to turn up the volume either suddenly or by degrees, springing surprises and heightening suspense. Add to this an undercurrent of dark, mischievous humour and you can never be quite sure where his characters stand. His face, a canvas of fluctuating emotions, is fascinating to observe, if not always easy to read. His mellifluous, insinuating voice, with its distinctive Middle European cadence, is remarkable for its range of nuanced expression. In The Lost One, his only film as director, made in post-war Germany, we glimpse his untapped potential – no longer the evil or comic foreigner as he tackles a complex, multi-layered role, articulate and at ease in his native tongue.
This selection from his vast filmography shows how Lorre both exploited and subverted his image. It also reveals a versatility which stretches to comedy, adventure and even a Fred Astaire musical. One thing is sure: the moment Lorre appears on screen – even in the background, fiddling with a cigarette – all eyes are instantly upon him.
Win a pair of tickets to a film of your choice from the BFI’s Peter Lorre season!
To enter tell us the answer to
Q.What Disney Film did Peter Lorre star in with Kirk Douglas?
Deadline is Sunday 14 th September 2014 (23:59pm),If you haven’t done already Like us and stay with us at our Facebook page (if you are already liking us just share this post on twitter and facebook). Must be 15 or older to enter.
Ticket Office: 020 7928 3232
Terms & conditions apply. Prize is valid for any showing as part of the BFI Peter Lorre season. Prize is as stated and cannot be transferred or exchanged. Subject to availability. Prize is for a set of tickets only for at BFI Southbank London, you must be able to to travel to/from the venue by your own accord. Must be 15 years or older,Failure to include any information required to enter could result in your entry been void. 4.automated entries are not allowed and will be disqualified, which could result you been banned, DO NOT INCLUDE telephone numbers as for security reason your entry will be deleted.5.If you are friend or like us at facebook for every competition you enter you get double entry, but you must stay friend/like us all the time,or future entries maybe considered one entry if you are liking us share the post on facebook and re-tweet the post.6.The Peoples Movies, Cinehouse takes no responsibility for delayed, lost, stolen prizes 7.Prizes may take from days to a few months for delivery which is out of our control so please do not complain 8.The winning entries will be picked at random and contacted by email for postal details and will be announced via facebook, sometimes we are unable to confirm winners. Uk & Irish entries only