Peter Lorre

  1. Joseph Schildkraut, Slave Ship, 1936.      Lorre signed his deal to play the slave dealer Danelo on December 15, 1936. Then, a few days before shooting began, director Tay Garnet gave the slave dealer to Schildkraut.
  2. Robert Morley, Marie-Antoinette, 1937.       When MGM production chief Irving Thalberg could not land Charles Laughton for Louis XVI, he spun through such possible royals as John Gielgud, Cedric Hardwicke, Oscar Homolka, Conrad Viedt. Every accent except French!
  3. Charles Laughton, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1938.      A year before the RKO production, MGM suits talked about a quasi version with Lorre as Quasimodo. Lorre was Goebbels’ favourite actor, director Billy Wilder revealed. “They were in an elevator together and Goebbels said in a very friendly way that maybe it would be good for his career if he toured abroad for awhile He was lucky. Not many people got that kind of warning from Herr Goebbels.”

  4. Bela Lugosi, The Gorilla, 1938.   
    “I’ll play anything – except Bugs Bunny,” said Lorre.  But I don’t want to go down in history as a monster. I’m associated with horror films but I’ve only done  one – The Beast With Five Fingers;  1946.  I’ve never played a frog that swallowed a city  or something like that. “

  5. Basil Rathbone, Son of Frankenstein, 1939.     Wolf, by name. Universal long to have  Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and  Bela Lugosi all in the same film.  “Too late,” said Lorre.  “No  more horror for  me. I’m doing the Mr Moto series at Fox.” He made eight films based on six John P Marquand books about the Japanaese secret agent and detective during 1937-1939.
  6. Charles Goldner, I’ll Get Your For This (US: Lucky Nick Cain), 1950. Change of Missine in the British George Raft vehicle. So so weak, web critic Roderick Heath suggsted it was more film gris than noir.
  7. Glenn Ford, Human Desire, 1953.    Austrian director Fritz Lang hated the title.  “What other kind of desire is there?” Brando hated everything else. “I cannot believe that the man who gave us the über dark Mabuse, the pathetic child murderer in M and the futuristic look at society, Metropolis, would stoop to hustling such crap.”  Which tends to explains why Peter Lorre – the star of M – also refused.  That and the atrocious way Lang had treated him during the 1931 shooting.
  8. Akim Tamiroff, The Black Sleep 1956.     Quite simply, Lorre felt he was worth more than offered. “Get me Tamiroff’s agent on horn!” The horror (in every sense) marked the last film of the Universal horror team-alumuna: John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr, Bela Lugosi and Basil Rathbone.
  9. Tom Conway, The She-Creature, 1956.  During the production delay following the death of headliner Edward Arnold, Peter Lorre simply fled the Z-schlock… and, goes the legend, fired his agent for involving him with such crap…. Directed by the dreaded Edward L Cahn, he who made Ed Wood look good.
  10. Gavin Muir, Night Tide, 1960.   Lorreb was too expensive, Muir was not…  so it goes. LAuteur Curtis Harrington turned his Edgar Allan Poe obsession into  a mini-classic – and Dennis Hopper’s first starring role after a slew of TV bits  IMDb reports that the  original negative is owned by Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn.
  11. Boris Karloff, Bikini Beach, 1964.    Lorre died from a strike before reprising his uncredited Mr Strangdour cameo in the Muscle Beach Party sequel.


“He was this divine wit and poet, imprisoned in this awkward little vegetable-like body, a little gnome-like creature with the capacity to make funny faces and whatever. But his nature was such that you could see occasionally through all of that, because he put on this clown persona, this mask, and shielded the real person.” – Bob Walker, son of of Jennifer Jones and  Robert Walker.


 Birth year: 1904Death year: 1964Other name: Casting Calls:  11